Munster moved four points clear of Connacht at the top of Conference B in the Pro14 courtesy of a 19-14 victory at The Sportsground.

Jack O'Donoghue's 25th-minute try, coupled with 14 points from the boot of JJ Hanrahan, secured a sixth league win of the season.

Conor Fitzgerald kicked three penalties for Connacht and Jack Carty came off the bench to score a try with seven minutes remaining, but the westerners were unable to repeat last weekend's late heroics against Gloucester.

Jack O'Donoghue is congratulated after coming off the bench to score Munster's try

Johann Van Graan's men were that bit sharper in defence and attack, building crucial momentum with a 10-point surge between the 20th and 25th minutes.

Finlay Bealham's penalty win at an early scrum prompted a brief scuffle, the intensity spilling over at times from both sides.

Hanrahan kicked Munster ahead in the eighth minute after good pressure from Gavin Coombes on Caolin Blade.

Quick hands allowed Eoin McKeon and Tom Daly to flood forward for Connacht on either wing, and although Chris Cloete pinched a textbook turnover, Fitzgerald got the hosts off the mark in the 17th minute.

JJ Hanrahan kicked 14 points in a man-of-the-match display

Hanrahan's second penalty - punishing a high tackle - gave Munster a 6-3 lead.

A significant 10-point gap was opened up in the 24th minute, Fitzgerald leaking a lineout from a peach of a kick by his opposite number Hanrahan.

Munster moved infield from the lineout, and armed with a penalty advantage, O'Donoghue struck for his seven-pointer with timely support from Kevin O'Byrne.

Fitzgerald and Hanrahan swapped further penalties, with Bealham pinged at the scrum this time, before Munster almost broke through again off a slick midfield move.

Jack Carty's late try gave Connacht hope

Dave Heffernan's crucial tackle on Calvin Nash forced a knock-on and allowed the westerners to clear.

A straightforward penalty from Fitzgerald rewarded Connacht's renewed efforts in attack just before half-time, but those points were quickly handed back.

Heffernan's crooked lineout allowed Munster to build early pressure on the resumption and Hanrahan duly fired over his fourth penalty for a 19-9 advantage.

Munster continued to win the collisions and the kicking battle, and even when there was a momentum shift, Connacht spoiled it with a maul infringement.

Ireland pair CJ Stander and Bundee Aki chat after the final whistle

They were also guilty of going off their feet after winger Kyle Godwin's promising break and kick ahead had Chris Farrell under huge pressure near the Munster line.

Connacht's accuracy returned eight minutes from the end, as a much-improved lineout maul set up Carty to dummy through and touch down near the right corner despite Hanrahan's last-ditch tackle.

The try-scorer's conversion veered to the left and wide and Munster's expert carrying and ball retention staved off the hosts' late fightback.