JJ Hanrahan led the way with a flawless kicking display as Munster ran riot at Thomond Park last night.
The shock midweek announcement that Rob Penney is to depart at the end of the season had no impact as the Pro12 leaders ran in six tries. Hanrahan and Gareth Davies exchanged early penalties before good Munster pressure yielded the opening try of the game after 10 minutes as loosehead Dave Kilcoyne was on hand to finish.
Hanrahan added the extras but notions of pulling away were quickly dispelled as Cardiff centre Owen Williams scored. Davies added the difficult conversion from the wing to tie the match 10-10 after 13 minutes.
Cardiff indiscipline allowed Hanrahan to push Munster into a 16-10 lead, but the Blues countered and Davies reduced the margin before Hanrahan made it 19-13 at the interval.
Munster took control after the restart and their forward power started to pay dividends. Their pressure paid off with replacement prop Patrick Palmer being binned for the Blues before Italian referee Giuseppe Vivarini finally lost his patience and awarded a penalty try on the hour.
The floodgates opened after that. Simon Zebo finished a good move with a try after 64 minutes and three minutes later Munster used their extra man advantage as Gerhard van den Heever crowned his home debut with a try.
Hanrahan landed his eighth kick of the night when he converted Andrew Conway's late try. And he made it nine from nine with his last kick of the night when he converted Munster's sixth try after CJ Stander went over.
Scorers – Munster: D Kilcoyne, S Zebo, G van den Heever, A Conway, CJ Stander try each, penalty try, JJ Hanrahan 6 cons, 4 pens. Cardiff Blues: O Williams try, G Davies con, 2 pens
Munster: S Zebo; G van den Heever; C Laulala (A Conway 67), D Hurley (I Keatley 68), J Murphy; JJ Hanrahan, D Williams (C Sheridan 67); D Kilcoyne (J Cronin 61), D Casey, S Archer (J Ryan 67); D O'Callaghan, D Foley (B Holland 67); CJ Stander, B O'Mahony (S Dougall 61), J Coughlan.
Cardiff Blues: D Fish; H Robinson, O Williams, G Evans, C Czekaj; G Davies (S Humberstone 70), L Williams; S Hobbs, K Dacey (M Breeze 59), B Bourrust (P Palmer 49); C Dicomidis (J Down 40), F Paulo; M Cook, E Jenkins, R Copeland.
Referee: G Vivarini (Italy)