Munster's chances of domestic success took another dent on Friday as they lost for the second successive week, going down 21-10 to Edinburgh at Thomond Park.
MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, October 13
MUNSTER 10 EDINBURGH 21, Thomond Park (Att: 8,000)
Scorers: Munster: Try: Denis Leamy; Con: Eoghan Hickey; Pen: Hickey
Edinburgh: Tries: Alasdair Dickinson, Chris Paterson, Simon Webster; Cons: Paterson 3
Munster looked decidedly shaky in their final outing before the start of their Heineken Cup defence as three-try Edinburgh upset the apple cart in Limerick.
Alasdair Dickinson and Chris Paterson both touched down in the first half, while Scotland winger Simon Webster danced over in the second, as Lynn Howell's side moved up to third in the league table.
Worryingly for Munster fans, their Millennium Stadium heroes looked well below par just over a week before their Pool 4 visit to Leicester Tigers.
Munster's new captain Paul O'Connell, who was rested as a precaution, and out-half Ronan O'Gara, who injured his shoulder after nine minutes, will both have to shake off knocks for that tie.
Edinburgh weathered Munster's early storm - fit-again centre Barry Murphy made two good incisions - in impressive fashion, although O'Gara's replacement Eoghan Hickey did bisect the posts with a 40-metre penalty.
Using the wind to pin Munster back, the visitors almost replied with a try as hooker Dougie Hall was just held up. The Edinburgh pack kept their heads and suffocating pressure yielded a 21st-minute try for Dickinson, who plunged over from close range. Paterson added the extras.
The lively running of Tomas O'Leary and Ian Dowling came to nothing as Munster's handling let them down and their frustrated forwards were being well contained.
Paterson's opportunistic score, seven minutes before the break, saw him send a delightful chip over Shaun Payne's head, gather the bouncing ball and romp in under the posts to confirm Edinburgh's edge.
The Edinburgh skipper converted his own try, handing his side a 14-3 interval lead, and he turned Webster's 46th-minute effort into a seven-pointer as the Scots piled on the pressure.
There was no sign of a white flag from Munster as just four minutes later flanker Denis Leamy crashed in near the posts for Hickey to convert and leave it at 21-10.
Try as they might, the hosts, who remain second-from-bottom in the league, could not find another way to the whitewash and the Scots dug deep to beat Munster for the first time since April 2004 and stretch their current unbeaten run to five games.
Munster: Shaun Payne; Tomas O'Leary, Barry Murphy, Trevor Halstead, Ian Dowling; Ronan O'Gara, Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Frankie Sheahan, Federico Pucciariello, Donncha O'Callaghan, Mick O'Driscoll, Denis Leamy, David Wallace, Anthony Foley (capt).
Replacements used: Eoghan Hickey for O'Gara (10 mins), Andy Kyriacou for Sheahan, John Hayes for Pucciariello (both 54), Alan Quinlan for Foley (72), Chris Wyatt for O'Driscoll (76). Not used: John Kelly, Diogo Mateus.
Edinburgh: Hugo Southwell; Chris Paterson (capt), Marcus Di Rollo, Rob Dewey, Simon Webster; Phil Godman, Mike Blair; Allan Jacobsen, Dougie Hall, Alasdair Dickinson, Matt Mustchin, Scott Murray, Alasdair Strokosch, Alan MacDonald, David Callam.
Replacements used: Duncan Hodge for Paterson, Craig Smith for Dickinson (both 55 mins), Greig Laidlaw for Blair (72), Simon Cross for MacDonald. Not used: Andrew Kelly, Dave Hewett, Fergus Pringle.
Referee: Phil Fear (Wales)