Despite dominating the first half, Connacht were defeated by a resilient Cardiff Blues side at an emotional night at the Sportsground.

A 25th minute try from winger Matt Healy was well-worked off the back of an impressive Connacht scrum and Miah Nikora added the conversion to his previous penalty kick. His opposite number Gareth Davies knocked over a three point penalty just before the break to leave the visitors trailing seven points.

Half time: Connacht 10 – 3 Cardiff Blues

The home side couldn’t have asked for a better start to the second half as Irish international Robbie Henshaw broke through the Cardiff defence on 45 minutes.

But a hungry Cardiff side were refusing to give up and after numerous restarts of the scrum, referee Neil Patterson decided to award the Blues a penalty try on 50 minutes which Davies converted with ease.

Motivated by a comeback, Cardiff took the lead eight minutes later when Davies converted a try from replacement scrum half Lewis Jones who spotted a gap to burst through and over the line.

With 20 minutes remaining, Connacht’s chances at recovery suffered a blow when lock Aly Muldowney was the one sent to the sin bin for repeated team infringements at the breakdown. The Blues took immediate advantage and spun the ball wide for fullback Dan Fish to run in and touch down.  The conversion was missed and it remained just a one score game with ten minutes to go. But things went from bad to worse when Number 8 McKeon was forced to join Muldowney in the sin bin for what was deemed a speer tackle.

Down to just 13 men, Connacht were unable to break through and Cardiff hung on to celebrate their fourth straight league victory.

Full time: Connacht 15 – 22 Cardiff Blues


Gallery: 6 Nations and Celtic Challenge