The first Irish interprovincial derby of the new season took place at the Sporstground tonight and Ulster saw off Connacht 7 – 18 to pick up their first win of the campaign.

It was Connacht who opened up the scoring with a 10th minute try from Dan Parks = the first man to pass the 1, 500 points mark in the league’s history. He added the two points to put his side 7 – 0 in front.

The visitors were quick to respond with a try of their own which came off the back of a break from Paddy Jackson, the ball finding winger Michael Allen who touched down. Jackson failed to add the extras.

Connacht’s defence was put to the test as Ulster continued to press hard for points but they held firm.

Two penalties were wide for both Parks and Jackson around the half hour mark, keeping the score board static.

Ulster looked certain to score at the last play of the half as they approached the try line but Connacht kept them out once again and the score remained 7 –  5 at the break.

HT: Connacht 7 – 5 Ulster

Aly Muldowney was introduced from the bench at half-time replacing lock Craig Clarke who enjoyed his Connacht debut tonight. Ulster made some changes of their own brining on Paul Marshall and Craig Gilroy.

Ulster were on the front-foot from the restart and it looked as if Jared Payne had crossed for a try but Connacht succeeded in holding him up.

But when Connacht were penalised at the scrum, Ulster went on to take the lead with a successful kick from Jackson – his first of the night – to make it 7 – 8.

And he extended that lead very soon after with his try on 58 minutes. Luke Marshall made a fine break and found Darren Cave who tore up the centre but was tackled just before the line. Luke Marshall recycled well and found Payne who put Jackson through for Ulster’s second try of the game, which he converted to make it 7 – 15.

The last score of the game came shortly after the hour mark through a Jackson penalty and Ulster continued to dominate.

Connacht fought hard at the death for five points but the full time whistle was blown before the consolation of a losing bonus point could be gained.


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