Gary Carr/INPHO
# the business end
JVG 'most pleased by how players reacted with two minutes to go'
Munster conceded an inconsequential late try, but forced their way to a crucial 84th-minute bonus point.

IF THE SEASON shapes up the way Munster hope it will, then few will remember the early arm-wrestle or the barren 30 second-half minutes against the Ospreys on Saturday.

When the pool table comes to rest in January, though, James Cronin’s late, late try might just be a moment that stands out. A maximum return gained, a sense of momentum too,  when the match threatened to fizzle out with a prideful home side on top before Munster won possession with the clock reading 81.30.

As with last weekend’s win over Ulster, amidst the battle there were flashes of excellent attacking play from Munster. Andrew Conway’s score was a thrilling counter. A long set of phases with slick handling and powerful carries led up to a first-half Tommy O’Donnell break and the openside made an important carry on a clever move ahead of the Keith Earls try.

That try again showed Mike Haley’s willingness to step in as passing link at the crucial moment – his first effort went to ground in the first half, but he was on the money second time around.

“We were looking for a win like we do every week,” said Johann van Graan, insisting the bonus point was not a minimum requirement from this trip.

Very satisfying to come away with the win. The most pleasing thing about tonight was to see how the players reacted with two minutes to go. They wanted that bonus point and they delivered and that’s all you can ask for as a coach.

“You know, a lot of things to improve on. We’ve got such a long way to go but to fight for that last try was very nice.”

That fight, the attacking sparks and a touch of bloody-mindedness ensured a satisfying end to a quite frustrating night  for the southern province. The old dogs relished the hard road.

peter-omahony-celebrates-james-cronins-try Dan Sheridan / INPHO Peter O'Mahony celebrates. Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

“You can’t underestimate the value of players who’ve been a long time. Billy (Holland) ran the line-out pretty well again tonight, I think we got 100%.

“Some of our deliveries weren’t quite good enough but a big call there at the end to go to a play that we’ve been working on over the last few weeks and to execute it is pretty nice from a playing group.”

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