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Connacht Rebound From Leinster Disappointment With Win Over Ulster

The Sportsground was the venue for the latest instalment of festive inter-provincial fixtures in the PRO14.

Connacht played host to Ulster, and both sides would have fancied their chances of a win. The hosts have gotten the better of Ulster recently, while the Northern province were gunning for a fifth win in a row having seen off Munster last week.

Much like their last-gasp losing effort to Leinster last week, Connacht had a stranglehold on much of the game.

In making their early pressure count, Shane Delahunt scored the opener after 12 minutes.

There was no stopping Bundee Aki from going over to stretch the lead to 12 points. Just prior, they opted for a five metre scrum instead of taking three points, and their ambition was rewarded as a second Jack Carty conversion doubled the lead.

Cian Kelleher was having a fine game for the hosts, but calamity would soon follow.

Johnny McPhillips kicked into the try area, but Kelleher misjudged the fight of the ball, which unfortunately hit him on the head. In the ensuing scramble, Angus Kernohan dived on the ball to halve the lead heading into the break after John Cooney’s conversion.

It didn’t take long for Connacht to reestablish a sizeable lead after the restart.

Caolan Blade scored their third in a well-worked move heavily involving Jack Carty and Kyle Godwin with the kick.

Carty just missed with a kick minutes later to make it 23-7, and it was indeed Ulster who would score next.

Recent substitute Ultan Dillane was sin binned, and the ever-more influential Ulster pack drove over to cut the gap to nine points with twelve minutes still on the clock, as a repeat of last week’s devastation looked to be on the cards.

But to their credit, Connacht regrouped and looked the team far more likely to score, even denying Ulster a bonus point in the process.

It was a deserved 21-12 win in the end, with Connacht earning their third victory over Ulster in a row.

They host Munster on January 5, while Ulster’s next outing sees them face off with Leinster on the same day.


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Author: Chris Kelleher

Student whose interests lie in sports ranging from Darts to MMA, with the likes of Golf, Boxing and Soccer in between. Closet wrestling fan and a lover of sports psychology and stiff jabs.