Keith Earls lit up Musgrave Park with a scintillating display of finishing to claim an eight-minute hat-trick as Munster hammered Edinburgh in the Guinness Pro14.

Johann van Graan’s men already had three tries on the board by the time the Ireland wing crossed for his first after 30 minutes.

Prior to that, man of the match Chris Farrell – who started his first game since suffering a serious knee injury for Ireland against Wales in February – had opened the scoring, barrelling over from close range.

"It’s just fantastic to get back out here and feel the buzz and the build-up for a game again," Farrell told eir sport. 

"It’s been eight and half months. You can’t replicate that buzz of preparing for a game so I just feel fantastic to be out here."

Andrew Conway crossed for a quickfire double soon after, both of which were converted by JJ Hanrahan.

Duhan van der Merwe, who also scored a late consolation, pulled a try back for the Conference B team but the hosts soon got back in the rhythm with Earls on hand to finish off in style three times between the 30th and 38th minute to hand Munster a 34-7 half-time lead. 

Munster named a strong starting XV with returning internationals Earls, Conway, Farrell, Conor Murray, Peter O’Mahony, Conway, Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan and Tadhg Beirne all in the action from the off.

The Scots – for whom centre George Taylor and flanker Lewis Wynne made full debuts - simply couldn’t live with the pace as Munster shot out of the blocks, registering six first-half tries and ending the game as a contest.

The visitors were the better side in the third quarter, benefiting from their improved ball retention and a scrum that now included Italy international Pietro Ceccarelli.

But Gavin Coombes and Earls soon had Munster back on the prowl, with both held up over the line, before replacement Duncan Williams used the five-metre scrum to send Tyler Bleyendaal over in the corner.

Those five points were cancelled out when Van Der Merwe once more showed his finishing skills out wide in the 68th minute.

Jason Baggott added the extras but fittingly it was man-of-the-match Farrell who had the final say in the 77th minute, claiming Munster's eighth try and swatting away Juan Pablo Socino in the process.

Andrew Conway scored twice

The win keeps Munster in second place in Conference A, three points behind Glasgow, who play Scarlets tomorrow.

More importantly, Murray and Farrell both got a full game under their belts ahead of the Heineken Champions Cup clash with Castres at Thomond Park on Sunday week.

Murray, who hadn't started a game since Ireland's final Test win over Australia in June, said: "Awesome, it’s hard to replicate that feeling when you are out injured when you are in the gym and rehabbing and watching the boys play, you are pretty jealous.

"So I’m just grateful to be out here and get another opportunity to play with the boys, thankfully a good win and a good start [back]."

Elsewhere, Alun-Wyn Jones broke the Ospreys' appearance record as the region celebrated with a 43-0 win over Zebre at the Liberty Stadium to move up to third in Conference A.

Munster: M Haley; A Conway, C Farrell, R Scannell, K Earls; JJ Hanrahan, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, N Scannell, J Ryan, T Beirne, B Holland, P O'Mahony (cap), C Cloete, A Botha.

Replacements: K O'Byrne, J Loughman, C Parker, F Wycherley, G Coombes, D Williams, T Bleyendaal, S Arnold.

Edinburgh: D Fife; T Brown, G Taylor, JP Socino, D van der Merwe; J van der Walt, N Fowles; R Sutherland, D Cherry, M McCallum, J Hodgson, C Hunter-Hill, A Miller, L Wynne, L Hamilton (cap).

Replacements: R Ford, D Marfo, P Ceccarelli, C Atkinson, S Nayalo, S Kennedy, J Baggott, C Dean.