MUNSTER GOT THEIR RaboDirect Pro12 season off to a flier with a five-try 34-23 win over Edinburgh at Musgrave Park.
First half tries from Denis Hurley, James Coughlan and James Cronin were added to by Ivan Dineen and JJ Hanrahan after the break on a night when Munster impressed without ever having to reach for top gear.
Ian Keatley tagged on seven points with the boot on a night where he visibly warmed to the task of being the province’s top 10 . Second half tries from Nick De Luca and Lee Jones were the most Edinburgh could muster a month out from their Heineken Cup rematch with the southern province.
After piers Francis kicked his side into an 11th minute lead, the hosts went straight down the other end of Musgrave Park and produced a flowing move which ended with Hurley crashing into the corner.
Munster had taken little time to find a rhythm and attacked in the Scots’ 22 with verve again minutes later. Roddy Grant appeared to have hands on the ball at a central ruck, but with advantage in the offing, Johne Murphy dinked a smart grubber though the defensive line for Ronan O’Mahony to chase.
Chase it, he did. But the winger who grounded three against London Irish last week didn’t get the bounce he hoped for. Munster’s luck, however, was still in. As the ball bounced between O’Mahony’s legs it kicked off his heel and into the grateful arms of Coughlan who didn’t need a second invitation.
The third try came after Lee Jones was issued a yellow card. Munster slowed the processes down and Cronin powered his way through a stationary defender to give the TMO a decision to make. He made the right call and gave Keatley a straightforward conversion to bring the southern province’s half time advantage to 16 points. 22-6.
BOth sides struggled to rediscover their fluidity in the second half, but after De Luca narrowed the gap, Dineen secured the winning bonus point by rounding off another fine move towards the left-hand corner.
Despite a penalty from Harry Leonard bringing the scores to 27-16, the result was in the bag when Keatley was withdrawn.
Hanrahan was barely five minutes on the field when he ran through off a fine Cathal Sheridan pass.
Though Jones would cross to claim the final score of the game to put a flattering gloss on the outcome for Edinburgh, it seems the pre-season promises are coming to fruition in Munster and they head off to Italy in impressive form.
Munster: D Hurley; R O’Mahony, C Laulala, I Dineen, J Murphy; I Keatley, D Williams; J Cronin, M Sherry, S Archer; D Foley, Do. O’Callaghan; D O’Callaghan, S Dougall, J Coughlan (c).
Replacements: D Varley, D Kilcoyne, J Ryan, B Holland, T O’Donnell, C Sheridan, JJ Hanrahan, C Bohane.