Danielli on double to sink Reds
Ulster ended a run of three straight Magners League defeats to boost their hopes of making the play-offs but they were made to battle hard against a makeshift Munster side at a bitter Ravenhill.
The game, which survived a pitch inspection earlier in the day after overnight frost, was a bruising encounter. Ulster were at pretty much full strength, with their international quartet of Paddy Wallace, Stephen Ferris, Tom Court and Andrew Trimble back in harness, while Munster were missing all their Ireland front-liners due to injury and this week deployed the IRFU's player management policy.
The visitors will be pleased with their losing bonus point while Ulster, for whom Simon Danielli scored two tries, will be relieved at the result after failing to register a single score after Danielli's second effort. In fact, neither side managed to score any points in a scrappy second half.
Ulster went on a 15-point scoring spree over opening 22 minutes, which opened with an Ian Humphreys penalty. Then Danielli bagged two tries, with his first coming when a Paul Warwick chip ricocheted off Wallace into the Ulster winger's hands and he turned and ran in to score.
Humphreys nailed a great conversion and then, virtually from the restart, Danielli was over the line again, this time after Andrew Trimble's burst drew tacklers before he released Danielli.
Humphreys failed to add the extras but at 15-0 Ulster looked comfortable. But Munster upped the pressure and Jean de Villiers scored under the posts. Warwick kicked the conversion and then added a penalty to cut Ulster's lead to 15-10 at half-time.
Scorers -- Ulster: Danielli 2 tries, Humphreys con, pen. Munster: de Villiers try, Warwick con, pen
Ulster: Smith, Trimble, Whitten, Wallace, Danielli, Humphreys, Boss, Court, Brady, Botha, O'Donoghue, Tuohy, Ferris, Faloon, Henry. Replacements: Nagusa for Wallace (52), O'Connor for Humphreys (61), Kyriacou for Brady (55), Anderson for Henry (4)
Munster: D Hurley, Howlett, Mafi, de Villiers, Dowling, Warwick, Stringer, du Preez, Varley, Buckley, O'Driscoll, D Ryan, Holland, Ronan, Coughlan. Replacements: Archer for Buckley (70), O'Donnell for Ronan (25), O'Mahnoy for Coughlan (70)
Referee: D Phillips (England)