"I thought our purpose in the way we played was exemplary. I just couldn’t get over the level of physicality the boys brought to the game," was Munster coach Anthony Foley’s reaction in the wake of Munster’s 19-7 win over Leinster in Donnybrook in the opening A Interprovincial game of the season.
"I think our physical exertion." He continued. "How the boys put themselves about. How they tackled. When they went to attack how they carried the ball. It was all very impressive and I think sets out our stall from the start."
Truth is that the final scoreline flattered the losers.
Interprovincial Title holders Munster led 12-7 at half time and effectively ended Leinster's interest when Scott Deasy cleverly intercepted inside his own half and beat all of Leinster speedsters to score under the posts. From there on in, it was a question of "what we have, we hold" and Munster did just that more than comfortably.
They looked the more likely to extend the lead with Denis Hurley, Ivan Dineen, Sean Scanlon and skipper Dave Foley carving open the Leinster defence at various stages, Dineen and Scanlon's line speed in defence snuffing out Leinster's baby galactico's .
Leinster out-half Ian McKilnley had the opportunity to kick Leinster into the lead with an 11th minute penalty but his effort drifted wide and Scanlon had to turn sharply to win the race to the touchdown moments later.
Then deft hands and neat footwork from Dineen operating impressively in the outside centre channel, sent Scanlon over for the opening try, Deasy's conversion well wide of the mark.
Deasy had played his part in that score and was involved again in the 23rd minute when Troy Smith, another impressive performer, scored Munster's second close to the posts leaving his out-half with a simple tap-over.
Leinster responded with a well worked try off a five metre scrum when quick hands from Brendan Macken put Micahel Keating through the hole and replacement out-half Noel Reid added the conversion.
That was in the 33rd minute and was to be Leinster's final score and, thanks to the ferocity of the Nagle, James Coughlan, Sean Henry inspired defence, their final serious threat.
Deasy had an opportunity to extend Munster's lead with a 74th minute penalty but his effort took a similar trajectory to his first conversion effort. Hurley gathered an attempted clearance and ran it deep into Leinster territory as Munster continued to threaten and when the home side did counter, Munster's defence coped comfortably.
Asked afterwards about individual performances, Foley laughed saying, "If you name one you have to name about twenty of 'em." But when pressed. "OK, stand out performers in the first half, Tommy O'Donnell, Ivan Dineen, Ian Nagle, just a clatter of them really. But look you'd have to say that was a team performance."
"We're just so delighted with the way we started. Obviously there's a bit of purpose about this team. In terms of disappointment with the way we finished up last season losing the final, we want to get back there so this is a really good start. Delighted." a well pleased Foley concluded.
Munster: S Scanlon; Denis Hurley, I Dineen, T Smith (E Maloney 70 mins), S Zebo (R O'Mahony 74 mins); S Deasy, D Williams (C Murray 57 mins); Darragh Hurley (D Kilcoyne 66 mins), S Henry (G Burke 74 mins), S Archer (A Cotter 66 mins), D Foley capt, I Nagle, B Holland (D O'Callaghan 72 mins), T O'Donnell (P Butler ht), J Coughlan.
Leinster: Kearney; Conway, Macken, Sheridan, Keating; McKinley, O'Donohoe; McGrath, Harris-Wright, Prescott, Galarza, Hogan, Keogh, Ryan, Marshall. Replacements : Reid for McKinley (23 mins), Ruddock for Keogh (h-t), Hudson for Keating (51), Cooney for Sheridan (54), Sheriff for Galarza, McCormack for Prescott, Maguire for McGrath (all 55), Sexton for Marshall (64).
Referee: A Lewis (IRFU).