Connacht stun the Blues

Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 13 Connacht 19
Connacht snatched a 19-13 triumph at Cardiff Blues to keep their faint European Champions Cup qualification hopes alive. 

Locked at 13-13 heading into the final two minutes after Nick Williams burrowed over for Blues and Matt Healy crossed for Connacht, Tiernan O’Halloran landed a last-gasp drop-goal before Craig Ronaldson’s long-range penalty sealed a crucial victory to close the gap on the top six to 13 points.

Gareth Anscombe landed a 12th-minute penalty to give the hosts a 3-0 lead and doubled their advantage with a penalty minutes later.

Cardiff got the game’s first try after 28 minutes. Willis Halaholo left a trail of defenders in his wake as he jinked 40 metres downfield, before the hard-hitting No 8 burrowed over from close range. Anscombe landed the conversion to make it 13-0.

But Healey pulled the Galway side back into the contest just before half-time. Hooker Tom McCartney broke free in midfield and almost got over the line himself before Jack Carty found Healy in space for an easy run-in.

Cooney cut the gap to just three points moments after the restart after Cardiff pushed early at a scrum. Cooney used the breeze to his advantage to level the scores at 13-13 with 17 minutes remaining after some ferocious defence earned a penalty.

Connacht spurned a chance to take the lead when wing Healy spilled at the vital moment when sent through in the corner. Carty then missed a drop-goal in the 78th minute, but O’Halloran landed one of his own a minute later before Ronaldson’s long-range penalty sealed the triumph.

CARDIFF BLUES: Morgan, Scully, Lee-Lo, Shingler, R. Williams, Anscombe, L. Williams, Gill, Dacey, Peikrishvili, Hoeata, Down, Cook, Navidi, N. Williams.

Replacements: James for R. Williams (51), M. Thomas for Gill (78), Rees for Dacey (70), Andrews for Peikrishvili (47), S. Davies for Hoeata (75).

CONNACHT: O’Halloran, Adeolokun, Ili, Ronaldson, Healy, Carty, J. Cooney, Buckley, McCartney, J. Cooney, Roux, Cannon, O’Brien, Heenan, Muldoon.

Replacements: Farrell for Ili (59), Blade for J. Cooney (70), Heffernan for McCartney (67), Bealham for J. Cooney (49), Fox-Matamua for Cannon (62), Dawai for O’Brien (78). Ref: Marius Mitrea (Italy).



Breaking Stories

Pliskova recovers to beat defending champion Wozniacki at WTA Finals

Usain Bolt offered contract by Central Coast Mariners

Andrew Robertson hails Liverpool’s battling qualities at Huddersfield

Messi to miss El Clasico after being ruled out for three weeks with arm fracture

Breaking Stories

6 secrets for a smoother journey when flying with a newborn baby

More From The Irish Examiner