Magners League champions Ulster slipped to defeat in Cork after three second half penalties from Ronan O’Gara crossed out their narrow one point interval lead – and left the Northern Province without even a losing bonus point.
The Champions had dominated proceedings in the opening quarter and led 10-0 thanks to a Paul Steinmetz try which David Humphreys converted, and a further penalty from Humphreys.
However the sin binning of Justin Harrison was crucial as Munster blasted back into the game with tries late in the half from Anthony Horgan and David Wallace, O’Gara converting one.
Humphreys hit back to restore Ulster’s lead before the break but it was the home side who came out stronger in the second period as their Irish test players, making their first start of the season, began to click.
O’Gara retook the lead for Munster early in the half then piled on the agony as Mark McCall’s men were sent home empty handed.