The Cape side scored two early tries and a penalty and was good value at 15-0 at Thomond Park Stadium after 30 minutes, but slowly deteriorated in their effort to secure a first win and conceded three tries in fifteen minutes just before and after half time to lose all momentum and a chance to score a famous win. Instead, a yellow card to Stormers captain, Salmaan Moerat, seconds into the second half proved decisive, as the home side scored three times while he was in the bin.
The visitors started brightest and flyhalf Manie Libbok had the first opportunity six minutes in, but his long-range effort went wide of the right hand upright. That did not seem to matter as the Cape side enjoyed some early territorial advantage and had most of the attacking play. That soon brought results. Libbok broke the line and then found fullback Warrick Gelant, who scored to round off a decisive attacking move. Libbok also missed his first conversion, but the Stormers were up 5-0 after 10 minutes.
The next try - again by the South African visitors - was a gem. The Stormers attacked to the left with a deft pass by Ruhan Nel sending Leolin Zas on his merry way. The winger had speed to burn and crossed the line before the Munster cover defence could reach him. Libbok kicked the conversion and 20 minutes in, the Cape side held a 12-0 lead.
In a flash, in fact three minutes later, a Gelant intervention caused all sorts of havoc in the Munster defence and some excellent interplay saw Libbok dotting down. It took the TMO a couple of replays to determine that he lost the ball over the line.
The pressure was unrelenting though and the Stormers set up camp in the Munster half. That soon paid off as Gelant slotted a penalty on the 30-minute mark to push the lead out to 15-0.
Munster started some sort of comeback close to the end of the half, with some driving play through their pack resulting in a 40th minute try. Flanker Jack O'Donoghue drove over the line with the half-time hooter in the background and Joey Carbery kicked the conversion to give the red jerseys some respite at the break.
The second half started poorly for the visitors. They conceded a 'soft' early yellow card via Moerat and a converted try when Jean Kleyn drove over from close range to score against his former team.
The Stormers was penalised repeatedly at this stage by referee Andrew Brace and the momentum swung towards the home side. A third try in 11 minutes saw Munster in the lead for the first time 51 minutes in, with Niall Scannell crashing over after a dominant line-out drive. Carbery missed the conversion, but the lead was suddenly a red one and by four (19-15).
Incredibly, Munster added a fourth two minutes later, again after a strong line-out drive and a second to O'Donoghue handed Munster a try-scoring bonus point.
It took the Stormers 15 minutes into the second half to get into that scoring mojo again when Tim Swiel kicked a penalty - which cut the lead to 24-18 - and hand his side some momentum.
That was soon snuffed out though when Munster replacement-lock RG Snyman scored from another attacking line-out drive. The big South African peeled around a line-out to reach out and score a very popular try, which gave Munster a 31-18 lead with 10 minutes to play and despite some desperate sorties by Gelant and the energetic Evan Roos, there was no way through.
Instead, Munster had the last laugh when replacement flyhalf Ben Healy kicked a long-range effort to close out the match.
Munster - Tries: Jack O'Donoghue (2), Jean Kleyn, Niall Scannell, RG Snyman. Conversions: Joey Carbery (3). Penalty goal. Ben Healy
Stormers - Tries - Warrick Gelant, Leolin Zas. Conversion: Manie Libbok. Penalty goals: Gelant, Tim Swiel