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Munster bounced back to winning ways in the Celtic League with a 36-15 win against Edinburgh Gunners that kept alive their title hopes.
The six-try victory at Thomond Park brought to an end a run of three defeats for the home side – their worst run since season 2003/04 – but extended the visitors’ miserable run to four successive defeats.
Federico Pucciariello, Shaun Payne, Jerry Flannery and Ian Dowling did the damage in the first half with John Kelly and a penalty try after the break ensuring Munster warmed up for their Heineken Cup semi-final clash with Leinster next weekend in style.
Pucciariello opened the scoring with the first five-pointer of the game after only four minutes after peeling off a lineout and powering overbut Paul Burke could not add the extras.
The visitors soon conjured a reply with Alastair Kellock and Alasdair Dickinson creating the space for Scott Murray to cross for the score that was converted by Duncan Hodge.
Allister Hogg went close to extending their lead before winger Anthony Horgan was harshly sin-binned for going over the top of a tackle on Simon Webster.
That blow proved to be the impetus for the hosts who added three tries before the break to build a 22-7 lead.
Payne grabbed the first by busting through prop Craig Smith’s tackle before full-back Hugo Southwell was yellow-carded for a late tackle on Dowling.
Hooker Flannery benefitted from a smart ineout move to grab the next try and Dowling secured the bonus point when he collected a bouncing ball before evading the tackle of Peter Jorgensen to score.
Hodge offered his side some feint hope of recovery after thebreak with a penalty but a penalty try just past the hour mark – after the ball kicked out of a Munster scrum – and a further notable score from centre Kelly saw the Irish province coast home and move to third in the table.
Murray’s replacement in the second row, Dave Duley did get over for a try with eight minutes remaining, but it was an ultimately meaningless score with the hosts out of sight.