Munster put together their most complete performance of the season, running in six tries to banish Bourgoin's Heineken Cup hopes with a 41-23 win at Thomond Park.

The champions' backs and forwards combined to devastating effect as Frankie Sheahan, Ian Dowling, Barry Murphy, Donncha O'Callaghan, John Kelly and Andy Kyriacou all touched down in a thumping win.

Fittingly, Declan Kidney's 50th Heineken Cup game in charge of Munster resulted in a bonus point triumph as, after a shaky start, they asserted their authority in front of their raucous faithful.

Only some indiscipline, which saw Benjamin Boyet boot three penalties, and two second-half tries for replacement winger Florian Denos gave the French side some breathing space.

Munster sandwiched their first try in between Boyet's early penalty brace - the game was nine minutes old when a lineout was palmed down by Paul O'Connell to O'Callaghan and he linked with Alan Quinlan who sent Sheahan scurrying in at the corner.

O'Gara's conversion attempt twisted away to the left and Boyet kicked Bourgoin into a 6-5 lead shortly after.

The hosts took control from then on, as with Bourgoin's former Munster scrum half Mike Prendergast in the sin bin for a tug back on Denis Leamy, Kidney's charges ran in two tries.

A beautifully timed offload from Kelly saw winger Dowling burst over on 31 minutes, and a midfield break from South African Trevor Halstead, who was quite deservedly crowned man-of-the-match, paved the way for Murphy's score, which O'Gara converted, four minutes before the break.

Bourgoin then took a bite out of Munster's 20-6 interval lead against the run of play. Seven minutes in the second half, Munster lost possession when trying to spread the ball wide and Carlo Del Fava scooped it up to release Denos, who kicked and dribbled his way down the left wing for a opportunist try.

Boyet's conversion cut the gap to just seven points but Munster roared back immediately with lock O'Callaghan dotting down - for the second time in six days - to collect Munster's bonus point.

A fifth try followed minutes later when Halstead took a loose Leamy pass into Bourgoin territory, he fed Murphy who stumbled but popped a delightful pass back for Kelly to canter over.

Boyet dinked over a penalty before ex-Saracens hooker Kyriacou crossed for Munster five minutes from time, after his fellow replacement Lifeimi Mafi, the former Taranaki centre, had brilliantly cut his way through from halfway.

Denos' injury-time try was little more than a consolation as Munster ominously chalked up their 26th win in 26 European outings at Thomond Park.

Paul O'Connell was glad to see some consistency return to Munster's play as the Heineken Cup champions.

Munster have so far failed to scale the heights of last season, as evidenced by their current second-from-bottom positioning in the Magners League.

He said: 'Having won last week, there was a lot of expectation so we were a bit worried about our performance tonight. Our back three were outstanding and we released the backs a lot better. I thought our lineout went very well too.

'There are a lot of little things we need to work on. Our form in the Magners League had been very poor as it was last season, and that is something we need to fix.

'But we do lift our game for this competition, no doubt. It's a good start for us but we've got two very tough and interesting games against Cardiff next.'

South African centre Trevor Halstead, only recently back from a knee injury, was an unanimous winner of the man-of-the-match award, providing the requisite blend of power and pace in Munster's midfield.

He admitted: 'We are building as a back line and as a team. The space for the tries came for us because of our forwards are laying the foundations and because we are working as a unit.

'I'm in a great position to play in with Ronan's distribution skills and Barry Murphy's flair outside me. I've bonded well with the team and certainly in a winning side, you're able to show a few tricks.'