Date Time Competition Season
13 May 2023 5:30 pm United Rugby Championship 2022/23

Match Report

Late Crowley drop goal stuns Leinster

A late Jack Crowley drop at goal saw Munster reach the final of the BKT URC Championship, overcoming their bitter rivals Leinster.

Big games, big moments, it was Crowley who proved to be the killer for Leinster, they went behind after the hour mark and from being pushed deep into their line, went up the field and Crowley shades of Ronan O’Gara hit the crucial score.

Munster will rue not taking three points shortly before Leinster crossed, hindsight a great thing, but a game of tight margins that would have had them more comfortable but Crowley’s kick with live long in the memory.

The game got underway but play halted after a minute as Munster cleared their lines, Leinster’s Will Connors needed some attention, looked to be a head/neck injury as the replay showed, he collided with Diarmuid Barron's arm on the face, an early change as he was replaced by Josh van der Flier.

A penalty followed for the hosts, the tackle illegal and Harry Byrne stepped up to land the early penalty from 36m to give them a three point cushion, 26,795 spectators packing themselves into the Aviva Stadium.

Possession changed hands numerous times in the opening half, Tadhg Beirne was penalised and Leinster kicked down field, then Munster won a penalty as Barron got over Tommy O'Brien.

Munster started to get a succession of penalties to put them in the Leinster half of the field, Ben Healy opting for the corner, but solid defence by the homeside saw them regain possession, Van der Flier driving Loughman back before stealing the ball, that allowed Luke McGrath to clear to halfway.

Three minutes later Munster would get points on the board, Jack Conan was penalised in the ruck and Healy pointed for the posts, a long range effort but the out-half nailed it with precision.

Back came Leinster however, Keith Earls was strong in the tackle as bodies were flying everywhere, the hits like two heavyweight boxers going 12 rounds, again however their discipline questioned early, penalised for a tackle off the ball, then Beirne conceded another penalty to stop Leinster playing an advantage.

Phase after phase Leister swarmed the Munster backline and creeped slowly toward the tryline, but ran out of space on the near touchline, the departing Dave Kearney doing well in the carry but bundled into touch with a stern hit.

A game of kick tennis ensued but then Leinster found an opening, Ryan Baird collected a loose ball on the halfway line from a aerial duel and sprints for the line, the second row racing a full 50 metre dash to cross the whitewash, however the TMO wanted to take a second look and he felt a blue hand knocked it forward, in an aerial duel Tommy O'Brien had the ball strike his hand and the score ruled out.

It was Munster to strike next as Healy and Craig Casey combined to try break the line but Van Der Flier showed his calibre in that back row to stop them dead, play brought back for a penalty Munster went to touch, that materialised minutes later to a kick in front of goal, as Ronan Kelleher made a tackle off the ball, Healy stepped up and put Munster 6-3 ahead after 24 minutes.

Munster still had a positive spell of possession after that, their defence again solid just outside their 22, their patience paid off as Jeremey Loughman forced a knock on, killing the move, the visitors found their shape after they earned a penalty advantage after Luke McGrath tackled a player while on the ground, Healy kicked to the corner as the noise from the travelling fans picked up.

Munster mauled well towards the line from the resulting lineout, cries of heave reverberating around the Aviva Stadium, but the ball popped out the back of the maul on the Leinster side as they cleared it up the field, Healy misjudged the clearing kick as it slipped through his hands, but a penalty was awarded for Munster close to halfway, Healy off for treatment for a blood injury, Rory Scannell on in his place with Jack Crowley shifting to 10.

It was full steam again for Munster, Leinster conceding another penalty as McGrath knocked on in the tackle, phase after phase transpired as Munster once again drove toward the line but once again possession was stolen close to the line, Byrne then booted a missile of a clearing kick long before Earls knocked on, a scrum turning to a penalty following an infringement.

Leinster were allowed to waltz into the Munster zone, they would leave with points, winning a high ball, they kept possession with Robbie Henshaw breaking stride, gaps opened in the Muster rearguard and Jason Jenkinspowered over from close range, Byrne converted for a 10-6 lead, just shy of the break, a lead Leinster wanted and left the field the happier of the sides.

Munster started the second half much the brighter, Peter O'Mahony making a 40 yard dash but a terrible pass by Casey ended the attack, a minute later Gavin Coombes broke away with a strong drive, him and Stephen Archer linked up to to break the line, phases transpired before Archer knocked on inside the Leinster 22. 

The pressure paid off six minutes into the half, Munster awarded another penalty close to goal, they opted to tap and go, holding possession and playing a penalty advantage, Beirne rumbled over for the visitors opening try, Munster back ahead as Crowley made it a three point gap from the tee.

Play started to get scrappy between the two, Munster sloppy from the restart, then Leinster again conceding a penalty, Munster again allowed to get ticking toward the Leinster line, 18 phases of big hits and movement before they won a penalty, opting for touch a three pointer looked on the cards.

Approaching the hour mark Munster stayed pressing and pressing, using their powerful forwards they laid siege to the Leinster line, 12 more phases before Max Deegan turned it over and they could break.

Leinster almost snatched a try straight after they turned it over, Byrne kicked long with a foot race ensuing between Mike Haley and Tommy O'Brien, who knocked on over the line, the pace of Haley was impressive as O’Brien looked in.

Patience and persistence paid off for Leinster three minutes later, almost 20 phases of build up play, they could smell the line and the frame of Joe McCarthy somehow in a sea of bodies found the gap to score, Ciaran Frawly missed the conversion Leinster back in front after 63 minutes, 15-13.

Leinster pinned Munster back late on and they had to work a score from deep, Fineen Wycherley turned it over, Casey kicking long to push Leinster back, they got up the other end of the field, then space opened for Crowley, he dropped into the pocket and put Munster ahead with a drop goal, shades of Ronan O’Gara in 2009, it's a Munster out-half to decide a game.

They got another big boost from the restart as Leinster chasers were ahead of the restart, a scrum in the midfield resulted for Munster, the clock ticked down possession all theirs, booting to touch a big win they now meet the Stormers in the decider.


15Jimmy O’Brien 22 Full-Back
14Tommy O’Brien Winger
13Robbie Henshaw Centre
12Charlie Ngatai 23 Centre
11Dave Kearney Winger
10Harry Byrne Fly-Half 40'
9Luke McGrath 21 Scrum-Half
1Michael Milne 17 Prop
2Ronan Kelleher 16 Hooker
3Michael Alaalatoa 18 Prop
4Ryan Baird Lock
5Jason Jenkins 19 Lock 39'
6Max Deegan Flanker
7Will Connors 20 Flanker
8Jack Conan No. 8
16John McKee 2 Hooker
17Cian Healy 1 Prop
18Tom Clarkson 3 Prop
19Joe McCarthy 5 Lock 63'
20Josh Van Der Flier 7 Flanker
21Nick McCarthy 9 Scrum-Half
22Ciaran Frawley 15 Fly-Half
23Liam Turner 12 Winger


15Mike Haley Full-Back
14Keith Earls Winger
13Antoine Frisch Centre
12Jack Crowley Centre 47'
11Shane Daly Winger
10Ben Healy 22 Fly-Half 11', 24'
9Craig Casey Scrum-Half
1Jeremy Loughman 17 Prop
2Diarmuid Barron 16 Hooker
3Stephen Archer 18 Prop
4Jean Kleyn 19 Lock
5Tadhg Beirne 23 Lock 46'
6Peter O’Mahony 20 Flanker
7John Hodnett Flanker
8Gavin Coombes No. 8
16Niall Scannell 2 Hooker
17Josh Wycherley 1 Prop
18Roman Salanoa 3 Prop
19Fineen Wycherley 4 Lock
20Jack O’Donoghue 6 Flanker
21Neil Cronin Scrum-Half
22Rory Scannell 10 Centre
23Alex Kendellen 5 Flanker

Past Meetings

(Round 2)
26 - 17
Women's Interprovincials
Musgrave Park

Munster v Leinster

(Round 10)
19 - 20
United Rugby Championship
Thomond Park

Munster v Leinster

(Round 6)
27 - 13
United Rugby Championship
Royal Dublin Society

Leinster v Munster

(Round 18)
35 - 25
United Rugby Championship
Aviva Stadium

Leinster v Munster

(Round 15)
19 - 34
United Rugby Championship
Thomond Park

Munster v Leinster

(Round 3)
7 - 19
Women's Interprovincials
Energia Park

Leinster v Munster

16 - 6
Royal Dublin Society

Leinster v Munster

(Round 9)
10 - 13
Thomond Park

Munster v Leinster


Aviva Stadium
Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Sandymount, Pembroke West ED, Dublin, County Dublin, Leinster, D04 CA43, Ireland

Diarmuid Kearney is a freelance Sports Journalist based in Co Kerry. He has more than 5 years experience covering domestic and international soccer for different media organisations, while also working for local and national print and digital organisations covering GAA.