D Cusack 1 Penalty; 8 Conversions
There isn't a lot you can learn from a one-sided contest such as this but after a depressing week for Munster rugby, this performance by Anthony Foley's A team at Dooradoyle, Limerick, last night gave a glimpse of a brighter day to come.
A nine-try demolition of British & Irish Cup strugglers Esher showed that Munster's emerging players have the appetite and know-how to get a job done and with one match to go in the group stages it solidifies the province's chances of progressing from the top two of Pool B to the knockout stages.
Talked up in midweek by Tony McGahan, Ian Nagle partnered Dave Foley in the second row and didn't put a foot wrong before being called ashore after 50 minutes as Dave O'Callaghan slotted in seamlessly.
Then again, there was little need to move into top gear with the game already won at half-time, six tries in the opening period sending Munster into an unassailable 43-9 interval lead.
Despite possessing a pack whose strength Foley had warned his own forwards about, Munster were too powerful for the English visitors both at the set-piece and in the loose as the back row of Billy Holland, Tommy O'Donnell and Paddy Butler harried and hassled Esher's backs.
O'Donnell, tighthead prop Stephen Archer and loosehead Dave Kilcoyne shoved over the line in the first half but there was some flair, too, as full-back Sean Scanlon, winger Danny Barnes and outside centre Ivan Dineen all got over while wing Simon Zebo and inside centre Troy Smith also carved through.
With such a commanding lead, there was an inevitable slowdown after the break, Zebo getting in on the act for the first score of the second half, kicking ahead a loose ball on halfway and streaking ahead to fall on the ball for his try.
Troy Smith completed a set of tries for the Munster backs in the 70th minute as he scored under the posts before substitute scrum-half Conor Murray landed the final blow with the ninth try, converted by JJ Hanrahan.
Munster: S Scanlon, D Barnes, I Dineen (C Hircock, 63), T Smith, S Zebo, D Cusack (JJ Hanrahan 71), D Williams (C Murray 51), D Kilcoyne, S Henry (D Casey 58), S Archer (P Borlase 58), I Nagle (Dave O'Callaghan 51), D Foley, B Holland (Capt.), T O'Donnell (B O'Hara 80), P Butler.
Esher: G Mullen, T Loizides, P Mackenzie, J Brown, R Fowles (B Fowles 55), R Kirby (D Ceruino 70), N Losardo (P O'Grady 55), D O'Reilly, A Fedorciow (S Edwards 55), T Tunnicliff (C Rowland 55), J Doherty, J Inglis (M Symons 70), J Waterhouse, A Bone, S Gaynor (Capt.).