It was Ronan O'Gara who opened the scoring in an ice cool Thomond Park by kicking an easy penalty just three minutes into the game. But it was the 11th minute dismissal of Justin Fitzpatrick for punching, that Ulster never recovered from the and by half-time they were trailing by 25 points. Munster scored a total of five tries and this victory gives them the opportunity to make up for losing the inaugural Celtic League final last season to Leinster.
Fitzpatrick's dismissal was for continuing to punch after the whistle when a skirmish broke out. Munster's Donnacha O'Callaghan was deemed guilty of having started the fighting and was sin-binned for 10 minutes. Even though Ulster were underdogs for this match, the support and determination they showed in the build up to this game gave Munster no option but to stand up and take notice, luckily for the men of Munster, Ulster completely crumbled under their first-half assault..
Munster ran in three tries in the right-hand corner through John Hayes (25 minutes), Alan Quinlan (27) and John Kelly (39). Ronan O'Gara, who had earlier scored a couple of penalties, landed two of the tricky touchline conversions. David Humphreys kicked a penalty for Ulster who trailed 28-3 at the interval.
Ulster had most of the second half possession as they battled to regain some dignity. But Munster, who had Frankie Sheehan and Alan Quinlan yellow carded in the second half, scored the next try through Mike Mullins on 59 minutes. O'Gara scored a simple conversion. Ulster kept plugging away and eventually crossed Munster's line on 72 minutes with Humphreys getting in under the posts and converting himself.
But Munster had the final say with veteran Mick Galwey, on as a replacement, scoring a last-minute try which was converted by Killian Keane.
Final Score: Munster 42 Ulster 10
Tries: John Hayes, Alan Quinlan, John Kelly, Mike Mullins, Mick Galwey. Conv: Ronan O'Gara (3), Killian Keane (1). Pens: Ronan O'Gara (3).
Tries: David Humphries. Conv: David Humphries. Pens: David Humphries.
J Staunton, J Kelly, M Mullins, J Holland, A Horgan, R O'Gara, P Stringer, M Horan, F Sheahan, J Hayes, P O'Connell, D O'Callaghan, J Williams (capt), A Quinlan, A Foley.
Replacements: J Blaney, M Cahill, M O'Driscoll, M Galwey, E Halvey, Denis Leamy, M Prendergast, K Keane, M Lawlor.
B Cunningham, J Topping, S Stewart, A Larkin, S Coulter, D Humphreys (capt), N Doak, J Fitzpatrick, M Sexton, R Kempson, G Longwell, J Davidson, W Brosnihan, N McMillan, T McWhirter.
Replacements: S Best, P Shields, M Blair, A Ward, K Campbell, S Young, J Cunningham.