Munster claimed bragging rights and a place in the European Cup final as their clash with bitter rivals Leinster lived-up to expectation in a ferocious contest at Lansdowne Road.
Billed as a showdown between Munster's forward might and Leinster's dazzling threequarters, the battle-hardened eight from Thomond Park took the honours.
More precise at the set-piece and stronger in the loose, they provided fly-half Ronan O'Gara with a platform the outstanding Ireland star used to mastermind victory.
Felipe Contepomi captured many of the headlines in the build-up with the Pumas playmaker credited with inspiring Leinster's European Cup revival.
He was even touted as the best number 10 in Europe but on this evidence O'Gara now holds that title thanks to his masterclass, which was capped by a 20-point haul and easily eclipsed Contepomi's disappointing display.
Leinster had no answer to Munster's fire while the greater experience of the perennial European Cup semi-finalists also told, especially in the second half when the tempo had finally slowed.
Living off scraps, Brian O'Driscoll and his fellow strike-runners struggled to make any impression with their fine efforts in broken play underlining their wasted talent.
Leinster certainly never scaled the heights of their stunning quarter-final victory over Toulouse, with Munster's pack proving far more formidable adversaries.
Ireland back row Denis Leamy crossed in the first half while O'Gara and Trevor Halstead pounced in injury time to give the scoreline a lop-sided appearance that was harsh on Leinster.
Munster now face Biarritz, who defeated Bath on Saturday, in the final and they should be favourites to beat the French champions and win the European Cup for the first time.