It was a tough day for Nigel Carolan’s young Eagles side who traveled to Jersey this weekend for round 4 of the B&I Cup. Following a heavy defeat to the very physical and experienced Jersey side last week at the Sportsground, the Eagles knew the challenge they faced away from home.

Jersey scored eight tries to the Eagles two to put them in second place in a difficult pool in which the Eagles have suffered four defeats.  

Carolan’s men went ahead early in the match with second row Cillian Gallagher taking a scoring pass from Api Pewhairangi. Outhalf and captain Conor McKeon kicked the conversion to put the Eagles 7 – 0 up. The Islanders didn’t take long to respond however and when a rolling maul was dragged down, the scores were levelled through a penalty try and Connacht Academy flanker Rory Moloney was sin-binned.

The pace of Jersey winger Tom Howe and fine support play from his colleagues earned him a hat-trick of tries within 10 minutes. Oli Evans set up the first, skipper Alex Rae provided the scoring pass on the next occasion with a delightful back-handed flick, and then Sami Fisilau and Tommy Spinks were the set-up man for the hat-trick score. Brendan Cope added a try of his own, dancing through as the referee played advantage for a maul offence, and the fly-half struck three conversions to open up a substantial 31-7 half-time lead.

Connacht struck first after the break when prop Conor Kenny finished off a flowing team move up the right flank, taking a pass from his front row colleague Pat O’Toole, and Jersey were frustrated by some determined defence throughout the third quarter in spite of a mounting penalty count.

Eventually the home side broke through, with Howe and Jack Moates setting up replacement Lewis Robling for the sixth try. The Jersey forwards had the final say, with rolling mauls leading to tries from the back row duo of Gary Graham and James Freeman.

JERSEY: Lane; Howe, Evans, Cooke, Adair; Cope (Robling 45), Fisilau (Moates 45); Lancuba (Lockwood 52), Selway (Garcia-Veiga 45), Tomaszczyk (Herriott 52), Rowlands, Kolo’ofa’i (Markham h-t), Rae (c) (Graham h-t), Freeman, Spinks.

CONNACHT EAGLES: Gaffney; Leavy, Pewhairangi, Brennan, O’Keeffe (Moynihan 50); McKeon (c) (Keegan 67), Kerins (Feehily 68); Walshe, O’Toole (Anaya-Lazaro 60), Kenny (Burke 67), Claffey, Gallagher (Romaine 60), Kelly, Moloney (YC 14), McVeigh (Cosgrove 67).

REFEREE: Jack Makepeace (RFU)
Man-of-the-match: Tom Howe (Jersey)
Half Time: 31-7

Tries: Penalty Try 14, Howe 20, 23, 33, Cope 29, Robling 61, Graham 68, Freeman 77
Conversions: Cope 14, 20, 29, Cooke 61, 68, 77

Connacht Eagles
Tries: Gallagher 6, Kenny 44
Conversion: McKeon 6


Eoin De Buitléar signs first Professional contract with Connacht Rugby