Leinster will have a shot at a third successive Guinness Pro14 title after beating Munster 13-3 in a cagey semi-final at a wet Aviva Stadium.

It was a scrappy encounter throughout, lacking the fireworks of the sides' recent six-try thriller, but a ninth Pro14 final appearance in 11 years was Leinster’s reward as they advance to meet Edinburgh or Ulster next Saturday.

Despite doubts over a double movement, Ronan Kelleher’s 27th-minute maul try was awarded and had Leo Cullen’s men were 10-3 ahead at the break.

Leinster captain Jonathan Sexton kicked the other points, in response to an early JJ Hanrahan penalty, and it was a sweetly-struck Sexton penalty, 13 minutes from time, which condemned Munster to their fifth straight semi-final defeat in all competitions.

Sexton was imperious from the placed ball

Narrow two-point losers of the provinces' last meeting just 13 days ago, Munster grasped a fifth-minute lead this time with Hanrahan’s right boot rewarding a CJ Stander turnover penalty.

Sexton was narrowly wide with a 10th-minute attempt from around halfway, before the Leinster skipper led a choke tackle which spoiled a promising carry by Damian De Allende.

Having turned down a couple of long-range place-kicks in greasy conditions, Munster were unable to profit from a solid line-out platform and Leinster soon made them pay.

Seizing the initiative, Sexton’s raking kick forced Keith Earls into an error. Now deep in the 22, the Leinster pack squeezed Kelleher over for his try, the young hooker brought to ground but managing to stretch out for the line and get the TMO’s confirmation.

Sexton's pinpoint conversion was followed by a penalty right on half-time for a seven-point buffer. While Munster full-back Shane Daly impressed with his aerial takes, the Leinster forwards increased their influence with strong carrying from Jack Conan and Cian Healy.

Munster's Pro14 campaign was ended by Leinster for the third straight season

Already missing some key men through injury, Munster’s in-form winger Andrew Conway was unfortunately sidelined early in the second half, with Rory Scannell – their only outside back on the bench – replacing him.

Leinster continued to look the more threatening, James Lowe going close from Garry Ringrose’s kick through before 22-year-old man-of-the-match Caelan Doris powered forward up the right wing.

Munster’s frustration grew as a crucial penalty was reversed for Daly impeding Lowe in the air, and a few minutes later, Devin Toner pinched their line-out. Hanrahan, the Pro14’s Golden Boot winner, also pushed two penalty efforts wide either side of the hour mark.


In contrast, Sexton’s final act of his 100th Pro14 appearance was to drill over a hugely important penalty from the right. The ever-impressive Doris did the donkey work to win the breakdown decision from Peter O’Mahony.

Munster built for a late onslaught and Josh Van Der Flier’s 75th-minute sin-binning for not releasing offered them a glimmer of hope, but the defending champions’ composed defence slammed the door shut.