Munster head coach Johann van Graan says his team stayed "consistent and composed" as they survived an early red card to come from behind and beat Ulster at Thomond Park.
A win looked highly unlikely with a quarter of an hour played in their United Rugby Championship Round 10 clash, as Ulster led 7-0 thanks to an early Rob Herring try, while Munster were facing 65 minutes with 14 men following Simon Zebo's red card for a dangerous tackle on Mike Lowry.
But the home side kept themselves in the contest with a pair of penalties from Jack Crowley, before second-half tries for Mike Haley and Alex Kendellen saw them grind out a tense, vital 18-13 win.
"We are consistent and composed," Van Graan said when reflecting on their second-half performance, in which they outscored Ulster 12-3.
"We don't really react if it goes very badly or very well. We are a team that knows what we are doing; we are all aligned. It was very calm by all involved.
"We're all really glad to have got the win; that was what we had planned all week to do. Obviously the red card made it a bit more difficult. I thought at half-time we had a good tactical discussion in terms of what to do in our backfield, our scrum and our lineouts."
Their replacements bench played a vital role in the win; Tadhg Beirne was promoted to the starting team and captain after Peter O'Mahony suffered a leg injury in the warm-up, and went on to put in a Player of the Match display, while Kendellen came off the bench to score the winning try.
The 20-year-old's try came following the good work of another replacement Jack O'Donoghue, with Van Graan hailing the impact of his wider squad.
"It is always a 23-man effort," the Munster coach said.
"I thought we made good tactical decisions in the game in terms of when to put guys on and everybody played their part. It is always difficult to play a game with a player less, for what 65 minutes, but the belief is always there and tactically we stayed in it.
"We used our opportunities pretty well.
"It is all about field position. If you look back we conceded the first three or four penalties. That keeps you in your half – and remember we were against one of the very best mauling teams in the competition – and we were seven zero down after that first maul of theirs. I felt our defence was pretty good, our contest on the ground was pretty good, once we got some field position, we got some momentum.
"Then in terms of our defence and kicking game, we realised we could not play with much width if you have just six backs. We subsequently kept the ball in the middle of the park, and I felt we managed that really well. We took our opportunities. We stuck to the game-plan and we are pretty happy with the result."
The win comes after a week in which questions were raised about whether Van Graan should be released early from his contract, ahead of his summer move to Bath.
The South African had been under immense pressure following last week's defeat to Connacht, but the Munster boss said the outside noise never effected his players.
"It was not really that tough. We had a normal week.
"We had our meeting on Monday after the loss, as we always do. We had a very good training week. We are just very glad about the result."
Alex Kendellen, a late addition to the team because of Peter O'Mahony’s injury in the warm-up, gets his first try for Munster with what proved to be the match-winning score #RTERugby #RTESport #URC #MUNvULS— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) January 8, 2022
📱 https://t.co/GmepvvwJvI pic.twitter.com/fc20F9UJuQ
Meanwhile, Ulster head coach Dan McFarland said he could have no excuses for letting their lead slip.
The northern province had led the game from the 10th minute until the 75th, and had an extra man for almost three quarters of the game.
However, McFarland said Munster deserved their victory for the way they rallied after the red card.
"When Munster got that red card, you got that gut feeling they'd get fired up and they did," he said.
"They’d lots of energy, they came at us proper full on. In some areas we didn’t match that.
"We got a handle on it second-half for a period, a couple of poor executions in our territory game and conceded field position and that’s not where we wanted to be.
"We had opportunities in their 22 and didn’t take them."