Munster 35-29 Glasgow Warriors
A spectacular hat-trick from Stuart Hogg rescued a crucial bonus point for Glasgow Warriors as they slipped to a 35-29 defeat to Munster in Cork at the weekend.
The Irish side dealt the Warriors' play-off hopes a major setback with 20 points from Munster's Ian Keatley inspiring the home side to a vital win that sees them leapfrog the Warriors into third place in the RaboDirect PRO12 table.
The Glasgow outfit were on the back foot for the majority of the match, though as has been the case regularly this season, their fighting spirit kept them in Saturday's contest with the reigning RaboDirect PRO12 champions.
After a quiet start, it was Sean Lineen's side who scored first with Ruaridh Jackson slotting home a penalty after 10 minutes. Jackson had another penalty opportunity just six minutes later, this time his kick drifting just wide of the uprights.
Munster were awarded their own penalty opportunity 19 minutes in when Glasgow were penalised for not rolling away and trying to slow the ball down. Keatley’s kick sailed through the posts, bringing the match to 3-3.
Mick O'Driscoll and Donnacha O'Callaghan combined to find Luke O'Dea to give Munster an 8-3 lead with the first try of the match. Jackson then doubled his kicking tally immediately after the restart following obstruction by Wian du Preez.
Keatley responded quickly however, with a penalty of his own to give Munster an 11-6 lead before Peter O'Mahoney notched their second try of the match, with Keatley securing the conversion to bring the first half to a close at 18-6.
Glasgow started the second with an urgency that had been lacking in the first. A superb solo effort from Hogg, which started on the halfway line, gave Glasgow their first try of the match, bringing the score to 18-11.
Hogg's blistering speed left the Munster defence wanting as he crossed the line to pave the way for a Glasgow comeback. Jackson was unable to convert, however, as his attempt hit the post.
Munster then extended their lead to 21-11 minutes following the interval as Keatley comfortably put away another penalty after Glasgow were penalised for being offside.
The visitors found a way back into the match through another Hogg try, the 21-year-old's second of the night, which cut the margin down to five points. Jackson was again unable to convert.
The Warriors conceded their tenth penalty of the match as another successful attempt by Keatley gave Munster a 24-16 lead. Glasgow replacement Duncan Weir, taking over kicking duties, quickly responded.
Indiscipline from Glasgow continued as Munster were awarded another penalty as Keatley added another three points. Weir was again allowed to respond with his own three points.
Keatley extended Munster's lead to 30-22 with yet another penalty after Glasgow's Federico Aramburu was sin-binned for not rolling away.
And Munster sealed the win with their third try of the match as Conor Murray went over in the left corner as Simon Zebo was released by a Lifeimi Mafi offload. Keatley was unable to add to his tally of 20 points as he failed in his conversion attempt, the ball sailing wide.
In the final minutes of the match, Glasgow's Hogg pounced on a Munster fumble as he held off a last ditch tackle to secure a crucial bonus point.
Glasgow will now face Benetton Treviso in a must-win match this Sunday after suffering only their second defeat on the road this season.
Line-ups: Munster: F Jones; L O'Dea, J Murphy, L Mafi, S Zebo; I Keatley, T O'Leary: W du Preez, M Sherry, S Archer; D O'Callaghan, M O'Driscoll (capt); D Ryan, T O'Donnell, P O'Mahony. Replacements: D Varley, M Horan, J Ryan, B Holland, P Butler, C Murray, S Deasy, I Dineen. Glasgow Warriors: P Murchie; F Aramburu, S Hogg, A Dunbar, C Shaw; Jackson, Cusiter; J Welsh, P MacArthur, M Cusack, R Gray, A Kellock (capt), R Harley, C Fusaro, J Beattie. Replacements: D Hall, R Grant, M Low, T Ryder, C Forrester, D Weir, T Seymour. Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)