It’s three consecutive wins in-a-row in the BKT United Rugby Championship fro Connacht after a nine try bonus point victory in Parma today.
A game for our two hookers to remember, Dylan Tierney-Martin scored a hat-trick which is the fourth consecutive game where a Connacht player has crossed over the try line three times in one game. It was also a big day for Eoin de Buitléar, the man from An Cheathrú Rua not only made his professional debut today but he got himself on the score sheet with a try right at the end.
The game started just as Andy Friend would have wanted it to. John Porch was tackled in the air which led to a penalty which Jack Carty sent into the Zebre corner. From the resulting lineout Connacht drove the home side back over their own line where Tierney-Martin got his first try of the day with six minutes gone.
For the next 15 minutes Connacht’s discipline would prove to be a problem, two easy kicks saw the Italian side get back into the game to make it 7-6.
With 24 minutes it was deja vu as Connacht score their second try. Jack kicked to the corner and from there the pack forced their way over the try line to see Dylan get his second of the game. This left the score 12-6 to Connacht.
Not even 30 minutes gone on the clock and the Connacht hooker got his hat-trick which you guessed it, came from a driving maul with the Galway man at the back to touch down.
In complete control the try scoring wasn’t finished just yet as a few minutes later Tiernan O’Halloran went over to get the bonus point try.
Zebre though replied back straight away with a try of their own to make it 24-13.
In what was an action packed first half, Caolin Blade got his eighth try of the URC season, some quick passing in the building which involved Tiernan, Diarmuid Kilgallen and Jack Aungier before the Monivea man finished.
Leading 31-13 at the break things should have been comfortable for Connacht in the second half, but far from it. An early Diamuid Kilgallen try widened the lead to 25 points but Zebre would hit back immediately with a try of their own which was followed by two more tries.
With the game now at 38-34 things were looking edgy for Connacht as the home side and support grew in confidence.
The Connacht replacements came on to freshen things up and Adam Byrne was one of them that eased things for the Irish side with a try after 72 minutes. Kieran Marmion had made a quick dash for the try line before being tackled. His run left Connacht within centimetres of the line which Adam Byrne drove over from close range to make it 45-34.
The game was all but sealed after 77 minutes when Marmion was quick to react to a sloppy pass from Zebre which didn’t find its intended target. The Connacht scrum half was never going to be caught once he picked up the scraps.
The game would end on what was already a day to remember for Eoin de Buitléar, getting his first professional cap the hooker from Connemara got Connacht’s ninth try of the day crossing over after another attacking maul.