Munster edge Ulster in epic Irish derby

It finished 22-20 at Thomond Park

Munster edge Ulster in epic Irish derby

Munster's Keith Earls scores their second try of the game. Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Munster and Ulster provided a high octane Irish derby at Thomond Park as the home side won by 22-20. 

Ulster made their intentions clear from the start when they turned down a kickable penalty to go for the corner. 

The resulting maul saw Ireland captain Rory Best power over from close range as Munster's defence disintegrated on their own line. Paddy Jackson converted to take the scores out to 7-0.

Munster responded almost immediately as Peter O'Mahony broke through the Ulster defence and linked up with Keith Earls before the ball made its way to Ulster loanee Angus Lloyd who crossed over against his parent club. Ian Keatley converted to level the scores at 7-7.

A Jackson penalty put Ulster in the lead again after Munster were offside in their own 22.

Ulster's Paddy Jackson kicks a penalty. Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

The Ulster fly-half made an excellent break moments later and Ulster were awarded a penalty after a needlessly high tackle by Billy Holland. Jackson pushed his effort wide. 

Ulster found themselves with another line-out on the Munster line in the 26th minute although the red army learned from their earlier failings and repelled the visitor's attack.

Angus Lloyd had a commanding presence despite stepping into the starting line-up at short notice with a solid kicking display.

The final ten minutes was an error ridden passage which saw both sides turn the ball over regularly. Munster drew level after they were awarded a scrum penalty in the 35th minute after Keatley slotted over the resulting kick. 

The half finished with Munster camped on the Ulster line but they were unable to score from a five metre scrum and the sides went into the break at 10-10. 

Ulster kept the tempo high in the second half and a brilliant break by Andrew Trimble led to a penalty under the Munster posts which Jackson slotted over to bring the score out to 13-10.

Both teams emptied their benches as the physical toll of the game began to affect some of the players. Earls finished off a fine break by Saili to give Munster the lead again but only by two points after Bleyendaal was unsuccesful with the conversion.

Ulster wouldn't lie down though and Luke Marshall broke through out wide and Jackson added the extras to make it 20-15.

Munster's Dave O’Callaghan scores their third try of the game. Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

This Munster side never know when they're beaten and Dave O'Callaghan powered over after relentless presure from the home side on the Ulster line. Tyler Bleyendaal converted to bring the scores out to 22-20.

Ulster had the chance to win it at the death but Jackson's drop-goal attempt went well wide.