4 Dec, 10:19
Grand Slam winners Fiona Coghlan and Nora Stapelton have returned the Women's RBS 6 Nations trophy to Chief Executive John Feehan at the Six Nations offices in Dublin.
It leaves Rob Penney's men in second place in Pool 1 with a 15-point tally, three behind leaders Saracens heading into the final round of pool matches.
Their quarter-final hopes now hinge on the visit of Racing Metro 92 to Thomond Park next Sunday. A bonus point victory there should be enough to see them through, anything less and results in other pools will come into the equation.
Ronan O'Gara got Munster off to an encouraging start this afternoon with three early points, awarded after a strong chase and challenge in midfield from Keith Earls.
The visitors' over-eagerness saw them pinged at the first scrum though. The late withdrawal of Allan Jacobsen brought the 20-year-old Robin Hislop into the Edinburgh front row and it was an area Munster would largely dominate.
A second free-kick against the Munster scrum - this time in their 22 - saw the Scots drive up close to the line led by David Denton and Stuart McInally.
But Penney's charges forced a turnover from the next scrum and scrum half Murray cleared the danger. It was very much nip and tuck in the first quarter hour as Greig Tonks countered cleverly and Munster stole a lineout.
Edinburgh had a let-off when O'Gara misjudged a penalty after Ben Cairns was ruled offside, yet there were better signs for Munster in open play.
David Kilcoyne and man-of-the-match Peter O'Mahony crashed up with ball in hand, making good yardage before a scrum penalty was forced and O'Gara was able to double Munster's lead.
A third successful penalty quickly followed from the tournament's record points scorer as Edinburgh's scrum problems continued in heavy underfoot conditions.
Greig Laidlaw got Michael Bradley's side off the mark with a 32nd minute penalty, but again Munster's superior scrum subsequently produced a kickable chance that O'Gara tucked away for 12-3.
A late series of pick and goes might have yielded an elusive try, yet Edinburgh defended smartly and the evident tension bubbled over on the half-time whistle with a bout of pushing and shoving between the players.
Munster were sloppy at times in the opening half and their defence was cut open on the restart as Edinburgh centre Cairns made one of the few line-breaks.
Despite their stranglehold on set piece proceedings, Munster could not break the try-scoring deadlock and were reduced to 14 men when prop Kilcoyne was sin-binned for a professional foul on Laidlaw after he took a quick tap.
Munster had the territory though to keep Edinburgh under pressure and the numbers were swiftly evened up. Murray's chip over the try-line was chased hard by Earls and Laidlaw, who reached the ball ahead of him, was penalised for palming it straight out over the end line.
Referee Greg Garner reached for his yellow card and the Munster front row earned their corn in the following five-metre scrums, Wian du Preez driving hard at Willem Nel with captain Doug Howlett slotting in temporarily at flanker.
O'Mahony, who moved to number 8 during James Coughlan's brief absence, controlled the ball as the red-shirted forwards powered towards the line and the penalty try was duly awarded. O'Gara converted for a 19-3 advantage.
Munster lifted the tempo as the passes began to stick. Full-back Felix Jones came more into the game, taking Murray's offload after a fine break from the scrum half. Had Jones found the supporting Howlett, a second try looked likely.
That score was registered soon after when Murray's tall frame helped him lunge over from a close-in ruck. Beforehand, James Downey had done well to get a fluid attack back on track after the ball went to ground.
O'Gara fired over the conversion from the left to put 23 points between the teams and the result was effectively done and dusted. The only question was could the Munstermen push on for two more tries and a prized bonus point?
They had enough time to do so and a plentiful supply of possession, but poor decision making and individual errors in possession led to a patchy display in the final quarter.
There was a lack of killer instinct from the province and they allowed their intensity to drop as Edinburgh produced a strong finish, warming the home supporters with two late tries on a chilly afternoon.
Munster's failure to turn possession into further points, despite some strong running from Simon Zebo and replacement Casey Laulala, had them rattled and they allowed the Scots to dictate for much of the remainder.
Matt Scott split the Munster defence with a powerful bust through the middle. Replacement Netani Talei went close to rumbling in before good hands across the back-line sent winger Dougie Fife over to the left of the posts.
Laidlaw converted the club's first try in Europe this season. Five minutes later they had another one on the board, Fife completing his brace by breaking a couple of tackles on his way in under the posts.
Laidlaw's second successful conversion was the final scoring act as Munster failed to boost their try count in the dying minutes, losing possession after setting up a promising lineout position.
|Edinburgh Rugby Score Card|
|Munster Rugby Score Card|