Munster got their campaign off to a winning start thanks to tries from Steve McMahon and Stephen Fitzgerald at Musgrave Park.
Munster impressed throughout but the boot of Gearoid Lyons proved to be key and the home side had too much in reserve against Connacht in a thrilling contest.
Munster struck an important blow after 21 minutes when full-back Fitzgerald finished off a slick set-piece move for a wonderful try.
Lyons hit another penalty for Munster but two three-pointers from Dwayne Corcoran meant Connacht went in only 13-9 behind at half-time. Corcoran then put Connacht within one point of their hosts, but McMahon's intercept try sealed the win for Munster.
Munster -- S Fitzgerald; R Deegan, S McMahon, JJ O'Neill, G O'Shea; G Lyons, B Riley; L O'Connor, L O'Halloran, L McMahon; D Lane, M O'Donnell; M Carey, D St Ledger, C Blake. Reps: A Moynihan for Fitzgerald, D O'Connell for O'Halloran, J Boland for S McMahon, S McNulty for O'Connor, E O'Keeffe for Deegan, S MacCarthy for Lane, E Barry for Riley, A Moynihan for Boland.
Connacht -- C Evans; F Stoneman, C Lowndes, D Corcoran, P Glavey; S Tobin, J Mitchell; C Kyne, P O'Toole, C Hansbury; A Broderick, P Claffey; E Galvin, K Hastings, J Codyre. Reps: M Riley for Claffey, H Hughes for Stoneman, C Gavin for O'Toole, S Doyle for Evans, C Keane for Tobin.
Ref -- N Connell (IRFU).