Connacht began their Challenge Cup campaign with a 22-8 win over Newcastle Falcons tonight at The Sportsground with tries from Paul Boyle, Adam Byrne and Diarmuid Kilgallen.

Speaking after the game was Connacht’s Director of Rugby Andy Friend.

“We’re happy with the win”

“It was a pretty physical affair which is always the case against Premiership sides”

“14-8 at half-time and held them scoreless in the second half which was good”

The first half was a scrappy one from Connacht’s point of view but the second half was one which Connacht really took control of which pleased Friend.

“It was pleasing to see how we played in the second half as we talked during the break about using being us as we didn’t really deliver in that first half”

“Our line speed could have been better and defensively we could have been better but in the second half we were better at that”

“I thought across the course of the game our set piece once again did well”

Coming up against any forward pack from the Premiership is going to be a tough one but Andy was pleased with how his side fronted up.

Adam Byrne made his first Connacht start tonight and he made a huge impact with a fantastic try int he first half.

“I thought he did really well tonight” said Friend

“He was great under the high ball and had good defensive reads”

“The try came out of nothing, he was dancing around and then pops out of a gap and scores a brilliant try”

“I’m really pleased for him tonight with his display”

Tonight also saw the introduction of Ballinasloe man Óisín McCormack who made his first cap for Connacht tonight.

“A lot of the home grown were on show tonight”

“I thought Niall Murray was a beauty tonight”

“Caolin got player of the match which was deserved as he was outstanding”

“When Colm Reilly came on for Bladey he played well with a couple of nice line breaks”

“Oisin came on, got a really good steal and didn’t let the occasion get to him as he played”

“It’s great to see all these lads come through”

Next up for Connacht is a trip away to Brive next Friday in France.

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