The Scarlets saw their season end in disappointment after losing the Celtic Cup Final to Munster at Lansdowne Road. The Welsh region briefly threatened to pull off a surprise in Ireland when Mike Phillips scored a try followed by the boot of Ceiron Thomas to spark a second-half comeback. But it was not enough to beat the Irish giants who were inspired by Ronan O'Gara's return from injury.
Ireland's outside-half scored 17 points, including a first-half try, and set the winning score for veteran centre Mike Mullins who crashed over six minutes from time. O'Gara had proved the difference in the first half as Munster raced into an early lead. His delivery to Anthony Horgan saw the wing pass outside one Scarlet then inside another for the opening score inside six minutes.
O'Gara converted from out wide and was soon stepping up again, this time to convert his own try as the Scarlets' defence buckled under the strain. Rob Henderson and Anthony Foley made yards through the middle of the field, David Wallace went close to the try line before O'Gara used his pace to beat Scarlets prop Phil John to score.
The Scarlets made far too many mistakes early on but when they finally managed to string a series of passes together, they soon found their way through Munster's defence. Aisea Havili went close before scrum-half Phillips burrowed over on 30 minutes.
That galvanised the Scarlets who had Munster on the back foot for much of the second half, Thomas keeping the scoreboard ticking over, until Mullins burst through six minutes from time.
Munster: S Payne; P Devlin (D Leamy, 61), M Mullins, R Henderson, A Horgan; R O'Gara, P Stringer; M Horan (G McIlwham, 28), F Sheahan, J Hayes, D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell, A Quinlan, A Foley (capt), D Wallace
Tries: A Horgan, R O'Gara, M Mullins
Cons: R O'Gara (3)
Pens: R O'Gara
Drop: G - R O'Gara
Scarlets: B Davies; G Evans, M Watkins, T Selley, A Havili (S Finau, 54); C Thomas, M Phillips; P John, M Rees (A Gravelle, 68), J Davies, V Cooper, C Wyatt (A Jones, 62), S Easterby (capt), A Powell (G Quinnell, 54), G Thomas
Tries: M Phillips
Cons: C Thomas
Pens: C Thomas (3)