GLASGOW 31 MUNSTER 13
Glasgow lifted their first Guinness PRO12 trophy with a big performance against Munster in Belfast on Saturday evening.
The Scottish district produced a powerful first half display to lead 21-10 and were never really threatened by the Irish Province.
Glasgow had lost last year’s final in Dublin against Leinster, but they came to Belfast as favourites and lived up to that tag.
It was a fitting tribute to Scottish legend Al Kellock, who came on 12 minutes from the end as he marked his final game for club and country.
On the Munster side, Paul O’Connell’s final game in the red of the Irish Province - he joins Toulon for next season - there was not to be final swansong many had hoped for the great Irish servant.
Glasgow owned the first quarter, reflected in a 7-0 lead at the end of the front 20, but it should have been more,.
Munster were taking time to settle and Glasgow were up quickly in both attack and defence.
However, Munster had the first scoring opportunity after five minutes, with a penalty for going off the feet. Outhalf Ian Keatley opted for the kick from the Glasgow 10m line, indicating the strength of the breeze behind them, but he was still short with his effort.
A flurry from Glasgow led to the opening score of the game. A powerful burst by lock Leone Nakarawa eventually led to blindside Robert Harley going over for the try. Outhalf Finn Russell converted for a 7-0 lead after eight minutes.
Another glorious chance on the left was spurned by the Scots try scoring hero DTH van der Merwe missed out on a great opportunity when the choice from Russell was to kick.
Munster exerted some pressure after a charge down by CJ Stander and a good run from Andrew Smith threatened but the Scots defence snubbed it out.
Munster did get on the scoreboard with a Keatley penalty on 24 minutes, but Glasgow were on the attack immediately and van der Merwe went in for a cracking try. Russell converted for a 14-3 lead after 25 minutes.
A Munster mistake saw Glasgow launch a counter attack on 31 minutes, and scrumhalf Henry Pyrgos was put through for a third try under the posts and Russell added the simple extras for a 21-3 lead.
There was a bit more urgency about Munster as they pressed the Glasgow line, looking for a score to bring them back into a game that was fast slipping away.
Smith looked to have finally got in for a score, but it was sent upstairs to the TMO and confirmed eventually. Keatley added the extras to leave the Irish Province trailing 21-10 two minutes from the interval.
Munster had the early pressure in the second half, and a penalty after eight minutes had them eight points behind, with Keatley goaling.
But Glasgow turned the screw just before the hour mark and their pressure was rewarded with a try through Russell, the outhalf adding the conversion for a 28-13 lead.
When replacement Duncan Weir slotted over a penalty on 72 minutes, Glasgow were 31-13 ahead and the trophy was going heading to Scotland for the first time.