AWAY victories, at this stage in European Cup rugby, are few and far between. If one team know how to win on the road it is Munster. Yesterday at Murrayfield, the Irish unit – often second best in this epic contest, but in their 18th quarter-final - got ahead late on, staved off a breathless Edinburgh onslaught which took that match deep in to the red, and then celebrated with the red army that had descended from Limerick.

It did feel though, as if this was one which got away for Richard Cockerill’s team, and hinged on key decisions; one, was the home side passing up on kickable penalties. The other, was referee Pascal Gauzere’s call to award Munster a penalty late in the day, penalising prop Pierre Schoeman for an off-the-ball block.

It looked soft; it was hard to take.

In a match when any points, but particularly early ones, could have been crucial, Edinburgh passed up on the chance to make an early mark. Edinburgh pressed, but territorially, made nothing in terms of yardage and the penalties they gained ended as Munster turnovers. Six points down the drain? Against the best defence in this tournament, only time would tell.

What was evident in the early exchanges was that there were two quality back rows in opposition.

Bill Mata showed up well with a couple of carries, but it was John Barclay who set pulses racing, when after a steal, his fly hack turned Munster on their heels. Hamish Watson gave chase, collected Chris Dean’s popped up pass, and as Edinburgh piled in, Tadhg Beirne was yellow carded for his cynicism.

Edinburgh once more went for the line-out. Stuart McInally fell a metre short, and after several drives, Munster were eventually awarded a penalty under their own posts. Nine points ignored and counting.

Edinburgh were running at 77 per cent in the first 15 minutes, but Munster had survived and had taken a chunk out of sin-bin time.

The merest touch from Henry Pyrgos meant Duhan van der Merwe was forced to concede a five-metre scrum. A man down in the scrum, Munster made light of that deficiency, and held solid. So desperate were Edinburgh that Pyrgos - warned by the referee to back off - deliberately batted Conor Murray’s pass away. Penalty; but before anyone could draw breath, Keith Earls took a quick tap and plunged over for the score.

Joey Carbery at fly-half for Munster in his first competitive appearance since damaging a hamstring at Murrayfield, on his last visit with Ireland, landed the extra points off the tee.

The Irish giants were 7-0 having lived off scraps. Even at this early juncture, you were wishing Munster had landed in Dusseldorf on Friday.

Edinburgh desperately needed a foothold in this tie. It came when Dean ran through Murray from short range for the try.

Five minutes from the interval, Munster threw away possession, and tossed Edinburgh another penalty. This time, Jaco van der Walt did the business, but his opposite number Carbery saw his Murrayfield jinx strike again, and he limped off.

Edinburgh carried their 10-7 lead into the interval. It wouldn’t last long after the restart.

Mata was quick off the mark but adjudged to have been high in the tackle on Rory Scannell and reserve stand-off Tyler Bleyendaal landed the points, but almost immediately, Edinburgh edged ahead again, a Pyrgos kick was fielded by Andrew Conway, but he was captured by van der Merwe, before Hamish Watson’s "jackler" skills forced the penalty. Van der Walt made it 13-10.

However, Pyrgos’ next box kick went out on the full, putting Munster on the front foot inside the Edinburgh 22. Munster’s commitment level went up a notch as they pressed Edinburgh back, the pressure bringing a penalty which the visitors chose to scrum. Wrong call; Edinburgh demolished the Munster pack. It felt as good as another three points, but Edinburgh went hunting for more.

Edinburgh went through the gears, and through the hands. Bodies flew in to rucks and tackles. Everything was on the line. The line that mattered was the Munster try line, and but for Conway’s last ditch tackle on Damien Hoyland, the Edinburgh wing would have been in on the corner.

McInally, precision personified at the line-out, earned a penalty from what should have been another Munster launch pad; again, a momentum shift.

Darcy Graham, yet again, made the XV-a-side game look like crowded Sevens practice as he danced and shimmied forward, his pack in close support. In a match of commitment, total at times, the intensity appeared to be just below boiling point.

However, in the case of Schoeman, it was uncontrolled. His shoulder on Beirne off-the-ball was minimal but silly. The penalty Edinburgh had ground out was flipped, and suddenly they were defending again 10 yards off their own line.

Munster line-out was overthrown, but they retained possession. Murray, Andrew Conway, and Chris Farrell then combined to put Keith Earls over in the corner. Tyler Bleyendaal showed you can kick goals from wide out.

Munster had won. More accurately, Edinburgh had blown it.

Edinburgh: Graham; Hoyland, Johnstone (Bennett 72), Dean, Van der Merwe; Van der Walt, Pyrgos (Shiel 76); Schoeman (Dell 76), McInally (Ford 76), Nel (Berghan 57), Toolis, Gilchrist, Barclay (Bradbury 57), Watson (Ritchie 72), Mata.

Replacements: Hickey

Munster: Conway; Sweetnam, Farrell, R Scannell (Goggin 76), Earls; Carbery (Bleyendaal 36) Murray; Kilcoyne (Loughman 61), N Scannell (Marshall 64), Ryan (Archer 57), Kleyn (Archer 59), Beirne, O'Mahony, O'Donoghue (Botha 34), Stander.

Replacements: Mathewson