Connacht 14 Gwent Dragons 32
Gwent Dragons grabbed three first quarter tries to put them on course for a quartet of wins over Irish provinces in 2004.
The victory moves the Welsh side temporarily ahead of second-placed Llanelli Scarlets.
The Dragons funnelled their most potent attacking into the first 15 minutes of the game as centre Percy Montgomery and wingers Nathan Brew and Hal Luscombe crossed for a hat-trick of early tries, two of which were converted by Springbok Montgomery.
Montgomery was to score 17 points, kicking three conversions and two penalties, the second on 79 minutes, paving the way for out-half Craig Warlow to touch down in injury time, sealing a well-earned victory.
Backed by a strong wind, Dragons struck off a short lineout for Brew to cross after only five minutes.
Montgomery clipped over the conversion and tagged on the extras to his own effort just four minutes later, ghosting through a gap in the Connacht midfield.
Looking hungover from the disappointment of last Sunday’s Parker Pen semi-final loss to NEC Harlequins, Connacht lapsed again in the 14th minute as opposition skipper Andy Marinos drew the cover for Luscombe to bomb over in the left corner. Former Newport favourite Matt Mostyn inspired an unlikely Connacht comeback with an 18th-minute try, converted well inside the cross wind by Eric Elwood.
Elwood’s lengthy garryowen proved fruitful for Mostyn in that period, but the home side were to end the first half 12 points in arrears, at 19-7 down.
Poor defence from the Dragons allowed a hungry Mostyn, having missed last weekend’s European main course, a second on 58 minutes, and with Elwood converting, Michael Bradley’s charges were suddenly only five points behind.
The experienced Marinos and Montgomery tandem struck 10 minutes later as Connacht infringed at a ruck 30 metres out from the home line, and Montgomery clipped over his first penalty.
A second penalty within sight of the final whistle moved the visitors into a 25-14 lead and former Wales A out-half Warlow confirmed the bonus-point win with a close range incision.