Connacht relish rare win against Cardiff Blues

Connacht relish rare win against Cardiff Blues

Connacht beat Cardiff Blues for only the second time in 12 meetings as they won a Guinness PRO12 thriller 33-24 at the Sportsground.

Cardiff have been a real bogey team for the Irish province, who lost their grip on two winning positions against the Blues last season.

Pat Lam's men finally got the win with a five-try performance on Saturday, however they will be frustrated to have allowed Sam Hobbs over for an injury-time effort which earned the visitors two bonus points.

Cardiff book-ended an entertaining first half with tries from Aled Summerhill and Josh Turnbull, while Nepia Fox-Matamua and Danie Poolman - with their third PRO12 scores of the season - and Kieran Marmion all touched down during a superb 16-minute spell for the hosts.

Connacht's 19-17 interval lead was quickly erased by a Dan Fish seven-pointer, but converted tries from Tiernan O'Halloran and replacement Aly Muldowney, coupled with a Jack Carty penalty, had the home side out of reach before Hobbs' last-gasp response.

The Blues burst into a seventh-minute lead in Galway, their defence pushing up hard and winger Summerhill intercepted Tom McCartney's pass to race away from his 22 for a try that Rhys Patchell converted.

Connacht were level just three minutes later when Marmion showed great pace off the mark, sniffing out the try-scoring opportunity off the base of a ruck. His half-back partner Carty, who had missed an earlier penalty, split the posts with the conversion.

With fit-again number eight Eoin McKeon prominent, the hosts began to hit their stride and back-to-back tries from man-of-the-match Fox-Matamua and Poolman catapulted them into a 19-7 lead.

The former plunged over from a lineout maul and great hands from Bundee Aki and Rory Parata played in Poolman for a fine finish near the corner flag. Carty tagged on one conversion, with the ball falling off the kicking tee for the second one as he drop-kicked wide.

Patchell missed a chance to punish a Finlay Bealham scrum offence, but Danny Wilson's side dominated the closing stages of the half.

Number eight Turnbull's pushover score was converted by Patchell, who also fired over a penalty after Connacht full-back O'Halloran was sin-binned for a professional foul - offside at a ruck.

Fourteen-man Connacht were under huge pressure on the restart, needing try-saving interventions from Marmion and Parata, but the pressure told when Blues full-back Fish chased down his own chip and dribbled through to score with Patchell converting.

Despite struggling to gain a foothold in Cardiff territory, Connacht managed to hit back in the 57th minute when Carty's crossfield kick bounced neatly for the unmarked O'Halloran to dot down.

The hosts then turned the screw with a brilliant 20-plus phase attack which resulted in Muldowney breaking through to leave the Blues trailing 33-24.

Replacement Gareth Davies missed two kickable penalties for the Welshmen while Patchell nursed an ankle injury.

All was not lost, though, as despite leaking a three-pointer to Carty, prop Hobbs ensured the battling Blues took home a brace of points.

More in this Section

Anthony Daly: Are referees and the GAA trying to destroy our game or what?Anthony Daly: Are referees and the GAA trying to destroy our game or what?

Hakim Ziyech signs five-year Chelsea deal ahead of summer switchHakim Ziyech signs five-year Chelsea deal ahead of summer switch

Daniel Storey: Mourinho’s mixed messages don’t inspire confidenceDaniel Storey: Mourinho’s mixed messages don’t inspire confidence

Cork Leagues: Goals help Sars make it two wins from twoCork Leagues: Goals help Sars make it two wins from two


Another episode, another incredible Cork woman. The tale of Mother Jones, the famous union organiser and activist against child labour in 19th century America.Five things for the week ahead: RTÉ showcase another incredible Cork woman

Holger Smyth part-owns and runs Inanna Rare Books, which has recently opened a ‘rare book lounge’ at the former Hawthorn creamery near Drimoleague, Co Cork.We sell books: Cream of the book crop sold from former co-op

Milton Jones talks hecklers, Hawaiian shirts and the world’s favourite clever Irishman with Richard FitzpatrickMilton Jones: When one line will do just fine

After almost 70 years of trying the search goes on, but so far nothing has been found.Sky Matters: Whether we are alone in the Universe has exercised many great minds

More From The Irish Examiner