Saturday's four-try win for Munster over reigning champions the Ospreys has pushed Declan Kidney's men joint-top of the Celtic League table.
CELTIC LEAGUE: Saturday, September 10
Munster 37 The Ospreys 10, Musgrave Park (Att: 5,000)
Scorers: Munster: Tries: Anthony Horgan 2, John Kelly, Shaun Payne; Cons: Paul Burke 3, Jeremy Manning; Pens: Burke 3
Ospreys: Try: Barry Williams; Con: Shaun Connor; Pen: Matthew Jones
Playing Ireland flanker Denis Leamy as a centre paid rich dividends for Munster coach Kidney. With much Welsh attention paid to Munster's bulldozing midfield of Leamy and South African Trevor Halstead, the likes of Anthony Horgan and John Kelly worked off some intelligent running lines to carve open the Ospreys' defence for three pulse-racing tries in the opening half.
This was a shot in the arm for the critics who predicted a one-dimensional style of play from Munster in the absence of injured backline wizards Christian Cullen and Mike Mullins.
Ireland winger Horgan showed flashes of his undoubted brilliance on his return from an Achilles injury. The admittedly under-strength Ospreys were ripped apart in the first forty minutes and the match points were as good as Munster's as they led 27-3 at the interval.
The province's seventh straight win in all competitions tees them up nicely for their first away trip of the season next Saturday. Kidney's men visit the second-from-bottom Glasgow Warriors at Hughenden (kick-off 7.30pm) with the chances of Ireland prop Marcus Horan been tried out as a centre on the increase.
After successful experiments in the Munster backline for flankers David Wallace and Leamy, Horan would look the part - especially after the crowd-pleasing side step he threw in to dip by Ospreys winger Johnny Vaughton when recovering a loose ball on Saturday night.
Lyn Jones' Ospreys, who started with midweek Lion Brent Cockbain in their pack, were always playing second fiddle despite fly-half Matthew Jones booting them into a fifth-minute lead.
Paul Burke landed the leveller six minutes later before Munster fizzed some fast-paced attacking into their play. A 22nd-minute blindside move involving good hands from Peter Stringer, Burke and the imposing Halstead put Horgan in for his first try out left.
Burke converted and the Ospreys' defence seemed in disarray four minutes later when the flame-haired Horgan managed to weave his way over past a flat-footed Stefan Terblanche to put Munster 17-3 ahead.
Munster went further in front before the half-hour when Horgan once more carved open the visitors on a 30-metre jaunt for the supporting Kelly to scoot over in the left corner.
Burke converted and added a penalty for a 27-3 interval lead.
Things went from bad to worse on the restart for the under-strength Ospreys as, following an early Burke penalty, young centre David Bishop was hauled off with a suspected broken kneecap.
Munster's hunt for a bonus point looked like being a frustrating one late on, while the Ospreys' try efforts were being launched from too far out.
The men in red closed out the win with a 70th-minute intercept try for full-back Shaun Payne - his 14th league score - after Munster substitute Jeremy Manning had lost his way out left.
Manning converted and although Ospreys captain Barry Williams grabbed a converted try in injury time, there was little to stop Munster from joining Edinburgh at the top of the Celtic pile.
MUNSTER: Shaun Payne; John Kelly, Trevor Halstead, Denis Leamy, Anthony Horgan; Paul Burke (Jeremy Manning 63), Peter Stringer (Frank Murphy 74); Marcus Horan, Frank Sheahan, Federico Pucciariello, Trevor Hogan, Mick O'Driscoll (Stephen Keogh 74), Alan Quinlan, David Wallace, Anthony Foley (Capt) (Rob Henderson 72).
OSPREYS: Stefan Terblanche; Richard Mustoe, David Bishop (Sonny Parker 52), Leigh Davies, Johnny Vaughton; Matthew Jones (Shaun Connor 50), Richie Rees; Paul James, Barry Williams (capt), Andrew Millward (Adam Jones 50), Brent Cockbain, Lyndon Bateman (Ian Evans 50), Lee Beech, Richie Pugh, Andy Lloyd.
Referee: David Changleng (Scotland)