Leinster managed to break the Magners League attendance record and Munster hearts in the process as they scrapped for a 27-20 victory at Lansdowne Road.
MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, October 6
LEINSTER 27 MUNSTER 20, Lansdowne Road (Att: 27,252)
Scorers: Leinster: Tries: Brian O'Driscoll 2, Shane Horgan, Jamie Heaslip; Cons: Felipe Contepomi 2; Pen: Contepomi
Munster: Tries: David Wallace, Marcus Horan; Cons: Ronan O'Gara 2; Pens: O'Gara 2
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll proved to be the game breaker in front of a 27,252-strong crowd, as he grabbed two tries with Shane Horgan and Jamie Heaslip also crossing the visitors' whitewash in a tempestuous affair.
Reprising memories of last April's Heineken Cup semi-final, dubbed 'Black Sunday' by the Leinster fans, the provinces tore into each other right from Felipe Contepomi's kick-off.
While David Wallace and Marcus Horan squeezed over for seven-pointers at the tail end of both halves, Leinster, thanks to their thorough defence and lightning quick attack, just had a slight edge on their southern foes.
However Leinster were forced to dig deep for their eighth league win on the trot at Lansdowne Road, as they lost prop Ronan McCormack and fly-half Contepomi to two early sin-binnings.
McCormack, seeing yellow for the third time this season, walked in the fourth-minute for reckless use of the boot on Munster captain Paul O'Connell. The fired-up nature of the game escalated in the 18th-minute when Contepomi, who was being held off the ball by Donncha O'Callaghan, connected with a right hook on the Munster lock.
A red card then and who knows what might have happened but Leinster survived, tallying up 17 points without reply after Ronan O'Gara's early penalty strike.
O'Driscoll got his side on the march when he shrugged off the challenge of Jeremy Manning, Munster's makeshift full-back, to waltz in from the left for a 13th-minute try. Contepomi converted and after his cooling down, added the extras to Horgan's effort on the half-hour, which had been made by a Denis Hickie incision.
The Puma star's only penalty of the night pushed Leinster 17-3 in front before Munster, drawing on their strengths, dug out a 'power play' in injury-time - three times they shoved a scrum towards the hosts' line and on the final push, flanker Wallace dived over in the left corner.
It was certainly game on with O'Gara's humdinger of a conversion leaving the game nicely poised at 17-10 at the break. Nevertheless, after doing so well to come back, Munster's hopes took a nosedive when they had prop Horan sin-binned within a minute of the restart.
Worse followed when numbers out left allowed O'Driscoll to dart in for his second try and a 22-10 Leinster lead. O'Gara offered up a penalty in reply and Leinster ground their way to their second win in seven days with Contepomi's arching pass out to the right putting Heaslip over on 77 minutes.
There was still time for Horan to make use of a close range penalty and tee up a bonus point-clinching conversion for O'Gara, who duly obliged, although nothing was going to take the shine off Leinster's prized defeat of the European champions.
Leinster: Girvan Dempsey; Shane Horgan, Brian O'Driscoll (capt), Gordon D'Arcy, Denis Hickie; Felipe Contepomi, Guy Easterby; Ronan McCormack, Brian Blaney, Will Green, Trevor Hogan, Malcolm O'Kelly, Cameron Jowitt, Keith Gleeson, Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements used: Reggie Corrigan for Jowitt (8-18 mins), Stephen Keogh for Jowitt (48), Harry Vermaas for Blaney (65), Owen Finegan for O'Kelly (74), Luke Fitzgerald for Hickie (79). Not used: Matthew D'Arcy, Christian Warner.
Munster: Jeremy Manning; Ian Dowling, John Kelly, Trevor Halstead, Tomas O'Leary; Ronan O'Gara, Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Frankie Sheahan, Federico Pucciariello, Donncha O'Callaghan, Paul O'Connell (capt), Alan Quinlan, David Wallace, Anthony Foley.
Replacements used: Denis Leamy for Quinlan (8 mins), Barry Murphy for Kelly (45-50 mins), Timmy Ryan for Foley (45-57), Murphy for Dowling (52), Mick O'Driscoll for Foley (73), Tim McGann for Leamy (80+2). Not used: Andy Kyriacou, Brian O'Meara.
Referee: Simon McDowell (Ireland)