Both teams showed their eagerness to run the ball in the opening minutes, testing out two well-organised defences with Justin Tipuric particularly prominent at ruck time.
Two crisply-struck penalties from Dan Biggar had the Ospreys 6-0 ahead by the quarter hour mark, the second strike coming after Simon Zebo was adjudged to have illegally blocked Hanno Dirksen during a kick chase.
Conor Murray was in the wars early on, requiring a head bandage, and he did not last much longer - walking gingerly off the pitch to be replaced by Peter Stringer.
The defending RaboDirect PRO12 champions were building some momentum and it took a well-timed tackle from Paddy Butler to force a turnover after Biggar had found a gap in midfield.
Munster had no answer though when Stringer had a kick blocked by Ryan Jones, with the Ospreys sending Andrew Bishop through on a bustling run before Richard Fussell was released for the left corner.
The full-back's 21st-minute try was converted by Biggar, whose opposite number Ronan O'Gara booted Munster's first points soon after with a penalty from the right.
Biggar missed a chance to reply and Munster improved in general play approaching half-time, Stringer's swift passing helping to put Casey Laulala, Doug Howlett and Keith Earls into advanced positions.
Denis Hurley and Mike Sherry were both tackled short of the try-line as Munster pressed for a late score. O'Gara managed to add a last-minute penalty to punish the hosts for dropping a scrum.
13-6 in arrears at half-time, Munster drew closer thanks to a third penalty from O'Gara. However, the Ospreys soon reasserted their dominance in a number of sectors.
Tommy O'Donnell was shown a yellow card for illegally pulling down a maul and Biggar mopped up with a successful penalty, reopening a seven-point lead.
The Ospreys' scrum, a real weapon despite Munster's best efforts to thwart it, gave them the platform to push for more scores. A penalty try was their reward in the 55th minute and Biggar converted for a 23-9 advantage.
O'Donnell's return and a flood of replacements, including seasonal debutants Peter O'Mahony and Donnacha Ryan, steadied Munster and O'Gara followed up with a penalty on the hour mark.
That was O'Gara's last involvement as Ian Keatley was sent on for the final quarter. Munster's increased physicality helped them recycle quickly and Zebo was unerring under high balls.
But a loose pass from full-back Hurley as Munster probed on the right almost led to another Ospreys try, with Fussell breaking forward only for Earls to chase him down and win a relieving penalty.
Keatley kicked a 68th minute penalty to whittle the gap down to eight points and give his team-mates a timely lift.
That good work was undone moments later though when a poor kick chase from the province invited Fussell to counter through the middle, and numbers out wide on the right led to hooker Richard Hibbard crowning his 100th league appearance with a try.
Biggar converted for a double scores lead at 30-15 and Munster had to see out the game down to 14 players. Replacement hooker Damien Varley was red carded for allegedly aiming a boot towards the face of Ospreys captain Alun Wyn Jones.
|Ospreys Score Card|
|Munster Rugby Score Card|