Munster reached their fourth Heineken Cup final after ending brave Saracens' European adventure courtesy of a pulsating 18-16 win at the Ricoh Arena.
The Irish giants will now return to Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium - scene of their 2006 title triumph against Biarritz - and an appointment with three-time European champions Toulouse on May 24.
Saracens’ defeat effectively knocks them out of the qualification picture for next season’s tournament, given they are struggling to secure a top-half Guinness Premiership finish with just two league games left.
And with no English team through to this season’s final, it means six English clubs contesting the 2008/09 Heineken Cup and France providing seven representatives.
Saracens, temporarily reduced to 13 men midway through the second half after props Nick Lloyd and Cencus Johnston were sin-binned, pushed Munster to the limit.
They scored first through explosive wing Kameli Ratuvou, but then could not get quite close enough following tries by Ronan O’Gara and Alan Quinlan that underpinned Munster’s 15-7 interval lead.
O’Gara also booted two penalties and a conversion, while his opposite number Glen Jackson contributed 11 points during an enthralling encounter when both sides expended every ounce of energy.
Saracens should take great pride from their performance - it was a colossal effort - but as with Toulouse’s victory over London Irish at Twickenham on Saturday, Munster had just enough experience and know-how to prevail in the white-hot cauldron of a European semi-final.