A strong Ulster Ravens side outscored Connacht Eagles by five tries to one in an entertaining encounter at Deramore Park.

The first half was a tight affair with both sides trying to play rugby but failing to be clinical in the 22 which resulted in the Ravens leading 7-3 at the interval.

Connacht had the first chance when they kicked a penalty to touch but from the catch and drive the Ravens were able to hold the maul up and win a scrum.

Ravens winger Peter Nelson broke the deadlock with the game’s opening try on 15 minutes.

The Eagles kicked a penalty to touch on halfway, from the lineout the Ravens turned the ball over and moved it wide, Chris Farrell spun the ball to Ricky Andrew who put in a grubber kick and Nelson won the foot race with Stuart Olding converting.

Eagles out half Jack Carty got his side’s first points on 29 minutes with a penalty after the Ravens were guilty of coming in at the side of a ruck.

The home side ended the first half with 14 men as prop Kyle McCall pulled down a driving maul and was sin binned but Carty dragged the resulting penalty wide.

The Ravens got the prefect start to the second half with a try from centre Michael Allen on 43 minutes.

It started with a typical Nick Williams run and one handed offload, Mike McComish was stopped short, the ball was quickly recycled creating an overlap of the right with Olding and Andrew moving it through the hands to give Allen an easy run in and Olding converted.

Allen nearly created a try for Andrew with a powerful break and chip but the full back couldn’t control.

The Eagles earned a penalty from a powerful scrum but Carty was unable to take advantage as he pushed his kick to the right.

Flanker Connor Joyce scored the Ravens third try with his first touch after coming off the bench.

Sean Doyle burst through the Eagles defence the ball was recycled, Olding was stopped short, Joyce picked up and went over from close range with Olding adding the conversion.

Replacement hooker Paul Jackson got the Ravens fourth try on 74 minutes.

McKinney kicked a penalty to touch and from the resulting lineout the Ravens executed a catch and drive move with Jackson rumbling over and Olding adding the conversion.

The Ravens finished the game with 14 men after McComish was yellow carded on 75 minutes for coming in at the side of a maul.

The Eagles took advantage after they worked the ball through a series of phases close to the Ravens line, replacement scrum half Paul O’Donohue was stopped short but flanker Eoghan Materson picked up and barged over with Carty adding the conversion.

Allen had the final say with the Ravens fifth try, the Eagles were trying to move the ball but spilled it on the half way line, Allen picked up and raced under the posts on unopposed with Olding converting.

Ulster Ravens

R Andrew; D McIlwaine, M Allen, C Farrell, P Nelson; S Olding, P Marshall;

K McCall, N Annett, R Lutton, L Stevenson (capt), R Diack, M McComish, S Doyle, N Williams;

Replacements: P Jackson for Annett 65 minutes, C Black, A Macklin for Lutton 65 minutes, L Dow for Doyle 74 mins, C Joyce for Diack 57 mins, D Shanahan for Marshall 65 mins, J McKinney for Farrell 65 mins , S McCloskey for Nelson 57 mins

Connacht Eagles:

D Leader, F Carr, E Griffin, D McSharry, T O’Halloran, J Carty, F Murphy,

R Loughney, D Hefferan,   N White, D Nolan, M Kearney, A Muldowney E Materson, M Fifita


J Rael for Heffernan 46 mins, D Buckley for Loughney 53 mins, JP Cooney for White 55 mins, D Qualter, J Connolly for Fifita 10 mins, P O’Donohue for Murphy 46 mins, C Finn for McSharry 70 mins, S Layden


Internationals return for Munster interpro at Thomond Park