Munster sometimes had to dig deep in a pulsating second half, during which the English team enjoyed a decent territorial advantage, but the home side produced an exceptionally dogged defensive display and overcame the loss of players twice to yellow cards.
In the end, Munster deserved their win, and are back in the hunt after picking up a losing bonus point at London Scottish last week.
Given Yorkshire trounced Ospreys last week, it might well now be that Munster have a decent chance of qualifying for the last eight, albeit there is still a long road ahead.
After the opening 30 minutes Munster could have done with more than the half-time buffer of 11 points they enjoyed, having benefited from a decent wind advantage.
The home side scored two excellent tries and were denied another that would have marked their superiority in a better way throughout those opening sequences.
That missed opportunity in 22 minutes was unfortunate because a brilliant move that started with rampaging runs from Cian Bohane and Ronan O’Mahony, with Cathal Sheridan heavily involved as link man, was ultimately doomed to failure. The forwards took up the challenge and Shane Buckley was stopped on the line. Although Munster won the scrum, they were penalised in the set piece and lost the scoring opportunity.
However, they did manage to grab those two tries, the first after 12 minutes from the experienced Billy Holland after a series of forward drives. Skipper Rory Scannell added the extra points.
Munster went 14 in front after 28 minutes as Sheridan’s speed of thought saw him take a quick penalty and get over in the corner for a try, expertly converted by Scannell.
Yorkshire’s Rugby League convert out-half Kevin Sinfield succeeded with his second penalty attempt and Munster had to hold out under increasing pressure as the half closed, Sinfield missing another penalty chance.
Munster did start the second half brightly but Scannell’s long-range penalty attempt fell short, and the visitors got back into the game with a second penalty from Sinfield, one that came in 53 minutes and just seconds after Munster’s young second row Sean McCarthy found himself shown a yellow card for a technical infringement.
Munster did well to survive a spell of pressure in the danger zone and were glad to welcome McCarthy back into the fold to help launch an offensive of their own.
However, a third Carnegie penalty on 74 minutes from Sinfield put his side back in the hunt and Munster fans were on edge, especially when Uruguyan prop Mario Sigario was sin-binned with four minutes left. Munster held firm though to take the victory.
D Johnston; L Gonzalez Amorosino, M D’Arcy, C Bohane, R O’Mahony; R Scannell (captain), C Sheridan; J Ryan, K O’Byrne, M Sagario; S McCarthy, B Holland; J Coghlan, S Doyle, S Buckley.
D Williams for Sheridan (54), C Oliver for Doyle (65), D Sweetnam for D’Arcy (74). L O’Connor for Coghlan (77).
T Prell; D Doherty, M Wright, P Lucock, D Tai; K Sinfield, C Pilgrim (captain); C Capps, J Graham, B Hooper; D Schofield, M Smith; R Beck, J Barnard, J Williams.
D Preston-Routledge for Schofield (53), L Imiolek for Capps (63), C Walker for Williams (66). A Sheldon for B Hooper (71), M Green for Pilgrim (78).
Referee. F Kirby (England).