Anthony Foley calls on Munster to react after latest defeat
Munster 14 Ospreys 19
Changed times indeed in Limerick. Shannon, the most prolific winners of the competition, sit bottom of Division 1B of the Ulster Bank League. Thomond Park, once one of the most feared grounds in Europe, has been plundered twice already in September.
But if there is uneasiness in Munster about the poor start to the campaign then there is little evidence of panic, and new coach Anthony Foley has been around long enough to know that tight decisions can start going your way sooner or later once you remain competitive.
He could have done with winning this one. But Munster's scrum was in trouble when it was most needed in the second half and the execution of the basics left a lot to be desired.
Ospreys may have lost a lot of big names during the close season but they look a united side, and they were much more polished.
Munster had the opportunities to win it and when they came with a late surge to try to snatch the game, most in the half-empty stadium presumed they would witness another dramatic rescue job.
But tradition doesn't win matches and Munster were not able to get out of this one; they have now lost four of their last five competitive games at Thomond, beating only Zebre. Changed times indeed.
Foley, though, is staying calm. He knows that a win in the Aviva next Saturday will turn a lot around. However, the days of Munster just being able to turn it on are no more.
Almost 40,000 tickets have been sold for the latest clash with Leinster and Foley wants Munster to produce a massive display after limping to another demoralising loss at what used to be fortress Thomond Park.
The new head coach said that next Saturday's game was also going to be a huge occasions and he doesn't think this defeat to Ospreys, coming after also losing their opening game at home to Edinburgh, cranks it up any more.
"I think even if we had won tonight there was going to be pressure on getting a result next week so that doesn't change anything. Local derbies, as you would have seen last week with Connacht and Leinster, are feisty affairs so that would have been no different anyway regardless of the results over the weekend."
Munster started well on Saturday and took the lead with a well-worked try which was finished in the left corner by Gerhard van den Heever on 11 minutes.
The South African, starting his first match of the season after being injured in a Sevens tournament during the summer, looked a threat out wide but Munster struggled to build the phases.
Instead it was Ospreys who looked the more accomplished as they set about maintaining their perfect start to the campaign.
They hit back with a try from Canadian international Jeff Hassler and while they lost influential flanker Justin Tipuric, the dominance of their half-backs Dan Biggar and Rhys Webb ensured they stayed on top.
The accuracy of Biggar was key - he landed five from five, while Ian Keatley hit three from five - and they led 10-8 at the break.
Keatley got his second penalty after the restart but Munster failed to push on when Ospreys lock Rynier Bernardo was binned - an exchange of penalties between Keatley and Biggar was all that happened in that ten-minute spell.
That left Munster leading by 14-13 after 57 minutes but it was Ospreys who took charge and two more kicks from Biggar into the wind saw them hope as Munster's late rally failed to snatch victory.
Munster paid the price for not being able to get out of their own half either through good use of the boot or working through the phases, and when they finally got into the red zone in the dying moments, they turned over the ball having been less than a metre from the Welsh line.
"The biggest area is where we were playing again. I don't think we need to spend that much time in our own half. I don't think we need to give the opposition the leg-up they are getting at times," lamented Foley.
"The discipline was good as well, there were on or two areas that we gave up soft penalties but by in large it was a very disciplined performance.
"We are going to work on where we are playing the game and how we manage that. It is not just the half-backs, it is everyone. We all need to buy into what we are trying to do and where we want to play the game. I think that will happen a lot quicker in the next few weeks.
"There is no point in ranting and raving inside there. You can't fault effort, there are a few accuracies that we need to rectify, but we get them right and I think we will win those games.
"It is frustrating that both in the Edinburgh and the Ospreys games that we are down to small margins, we lose one by a point, another by a score. It is difficult but you have to stick at it and stick together.
"There is no point in giving out to people when you see they are giving everything they have. I trust in them and hopefully they trust in me."
Foley, more than anyone, knows how valuable 'fortress' Thomond Park has been to Munster over the years and is aware that losing two of the opening three games there is not good enough.
"We never banked on losing at home. We've consistently said we want to make Thomond Park a fortress, make it hard for teams to come here and play. We haven't done that so far and that's on us. We need to rectify that," he said.
"Two defeats and I think we're in sixth position in the league. There's teams one or two points ahead of us but this competition runs until the end of May and we'll see how we go over the next few weeks and try and get some momentum into it."
He could badly do with that momentum starting next Saturday night.
Munster: J Murphy; A Conway (JJ Hanrahan 71), I Dineen, D Hurley (A Smith 64), G van den Heever; I Keatley, C Murray; D Kilcoyne (J Cronin 59), D Casey, BJ Botha; D O'Callaghan (D Foley 55), P O'Connell; P Butler, S Dougall (J O'Donoghue 75), CJ Stander.
Ospreys: D Evans (H Dirksen 77); J Hassler, A Bishop, J Matavesi, E Walker; D Biggar, R Webb; N Smith (D Jones 57), S Baldwin, D Arhip (C Griffiths 78); AW Jones, R Bernardo; J Bearman, J Tipuric (J King 25), D Baker (M Allen 57).
Referee: N Hennessy (Wales).