Cardiff Blues slipped to a disappointing defeat in difficult conditions as Munster displayed their ruthless quality at the Arms Park.
The Blues went into the encounter on the back of three slender defeats and they were unable to halt an impressive Munster despite going into half-time 13-13, thanks to a late Corey Domachowski try.
Jarrod Evans nudged John Mulvihill’s men in front early in the second-half but Munster crossed for three unanswered second-half tries through Alby Mathewson (2) and Calvin Nash.
Nick Williams crossed over in the final moments against his former side, but the Blues were unable to salvage a losing bonus point.
The Blues are back in action at the Arms Park next Saturday, when they host Toyota Cheetahs before a European double-header against Calvisano and Leicester Tigers.
After losing in the last two rounds of the competition due to a sluggish start, the Blues kicked-off with renewed assurance back at the Arms Park.
One of the major positives in recent weeks has been the strength of the scrum and a powerful shunt allowed Jarrod Evans the opportunity to boot the scoreboard into action on seven points.
Mulvihill’s men continued to impress with a well worked play putting Jason Harries in space on the right. The wing had Lee-Lo and a man spare on the outside but with limited space opted to step inside and Munster clung on.
The Limerick-based outfit worked their way into the encounter and were soon on the attack, eventually settling for a JJ Hanrahan penalty but straight from the restart Kristian Dacey earned a turnover penalty and Evans restored the slim advantage.
However, alarm bells were soon ringing as Jack O’Donoghue burst through midfield and set his sights on Matthew Morgan. The odds were stacked against the diminutive full-back but he wrestled the flanker to the ground to snuff out the scoring opportunity.
The Blues were not yet off the hook with O’Donoghue’s attempted offload ricocheting off a stray knee, forcing Lee-Lo to take the ball over the whitewash for a five-metre scrum. But again, the Cardiff Blues scrum prevailed allowing them to clear.
Any respite was short-lived however, as Munster worked their way back into Blues territory and following a sustained period of pressure Chris Cloete powered over.
JJ Hanrahan added the extras and soon slotted a second penalty as the visitors opened up a seven-point lead.
But the Blues were undeterred and levelled the scores after dominating the final five minutes of the half. The siege-gun boot of Matthew Morgan made the initial inroads and playing into a strong wind, Munster were unable to get out of their 22.
Neat interplay saw Lloyd Williams make a half-break from the ensuing lineout and from here Wales’ Capital Region set up camp.
They went through phase after phase, earning a penalty and turning down a shot at goal but their perseverance paid off as Corey Domachowski barged over for his first PRO14 try.
Jarrod Evans converted to tie the scores at the interval, and he nudged his side in front seven minutes after the restart.
The lead lasted just three minutes as Munster roared back with a superb offload from Hanrahan put Kevin O’Byrne through a hole. From here Munster never looked back and Sammy Arnold, who had impressed all game beat one defender before flicking the ball off the floor for Alby Mathewson to score.
Hanrahan was once again on target to stretch the Irish province’s lead to four points but that saw the game burst into life with Morgan soon embarking on a sensational break from his own half.
The in-form full-back beat six defenders as he raced, jinked and swerved through the red wall before finding Summerhill with a long pass.
Cardiff Blues remained in possession and went through multiple phases before Summerhill crossed the whitewash, however referee Stuart Berry had already blown for a dubious knock-on without consulting the TMO.
Soon after Munster dealt a devastating blow, slicing through midfield twice for Calvin Nash to score a crucial try, which took his side into a 25-16 lead.
The visitors claimed their fourth try on 67 minutes with Mathewson claiming a second try despite a pair of passes that appeared forward and no use of the TMO, to the dismay of the home crowd.
Hanrahan was narrowly off target again, but the try had put Munster 14-points in the clear with just over 10 minutes to go. The fly-half soon rediscovered his kicking boots and slotted another penalty to put his side out of reach.
The hosts claimed a late consolation score, after a fine break from Jason Tovey. The ball was worked right to Jason Harries, who carried hard and won the penalty at the breakdown.
The resulting line-out was won and replacement number eight Williams crashed over against his former side, but Mulvihill's men were unable to claim a losing bonus point.