The Munster starting XV shows five changes from the one that took the field against Leinster with Trevor Halstead, who came on as a second half replacement for Gary Connolly at the RDS, renewing his partnership with Barry Murphy and Dowling taking over from Anthony Horgan on the wing.
Horgan has had a partucularly busy December playing in all of Munster's games and coach Declan Kidney takes the opportunity to give the Cork man a well earned rest which of course affords Dowling an opportunity to stake a claim for a place in the squad for the Heineken Cup.
Dowling's last appearance for Munster was as a 67th minute replacement in the Celtic League encounter with Leinster on October 9th having made his competitive debut a fortnight earlier in the game against Llanelli Scarlets.
Up front, two players, John Hayes and Donncha O'Callaghan, who were sprung from the bench last weekend, retain their places while Stepehn Keogh gets a run ahead of Denis Leamy who has played in every game since turning out three times for Ireland in the recent three match international series.
Meanwhile, Edinburgh Gunners' interim head coach Todd Blackadder has made just two changes to the side that defeated the Border Reivers 30-25 at Murrayfield on Boxing Day.
Argentinean winger Francisco Leonelli returns to the starting line-up in place of Simon Webster who was forced off the pitch having taken a knock to his hip against the Reivers. Dave Hewett also rejoins the side as a replacement for prop Allan Jacobsen who suffered a knock to his knee in that same game.
On the top-of-the-table clash with leaders Munster, Blackadder said: "This is a great opportunity against the front runners in the Celtic League. We've had a good break and the players have come back refreshed. We needed that mentally as well as physically and we are all ready to go out there with a lot of enthusiasm.
"We picked up five points from our game against the Reivers but we knew our match against Munster was coming up. They are top of the league but we will be playing at home. We've had a good start to the Celtic League season and that is something that we should be really proud of. We've got a good strong, quality side," he added.
Webster received intensive rehabilitation over the festive period and it is hoped that he will return to training next week. Jacobsen had a scan on his knee and will be treated by the Gunners' medical team over the coming week.
Munster fly out from Cork Airport this (Friday) evening.
Munster: S Payne; J Kelly, B Murphy, T Halstead, I Dowling; R O'Gara, P Stringer; M Horan, J Flannery, J Hayes: D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell; S Keogh, D Wallace, A Foley
Replacements: F Pucciariello, D Leamy, T Hogan, M O'Driscoll, T O'Leary, J Manning, G Connolly.
Edinburgh: Hugo Southwell; Chris Paterson capt, Marcus Di Rollo, Peter Jorgensen, Francisco Leonelli; Phil Godman, Mike Blair; Dave Hewett, Dougie Hall, Craig Smith; Alastair Kellock, Scott Murray;Allister Hogg, Simon Cross, Simon Taylor
Replacements: Andrew Kelly, Alasdair Dickinson, Alasdair Strokosch, Alan MacDonald,
Rory Lawson, Matt Dey, Michael Pyke.