Connacht 27

Gloucester 24 

A last minute try from Robin Copeland deep into injury time sent the Sportsground crowd wild and secured a win that looked unlikely when they trailed 13 points to Gloucester’s 24 with 4 minutes remaining. Connacht had dominated possession and territory throughout but some vital errors inside the opposition 22 looked like they would cost them the game.

When Shane Delahunt got over for Connacht’s second try with just three minutes on the clock the home side turned the momentum of the last 20 minutes. Copeland’s try came at the end of an extraordinary 20 phase sequence of play that saw Tom Daly offload to the replacement number 8 who ran in under the posts.

It was Connacht who had drawn first blood when outhalf Conor Fitzgerald kicked a penalty in the 14th minute. It was an important score for the 22 year old as Connacht had been reduced to 14 men when Eoin McKeon picked up a yellow card four minutes earlier. After a sustained period of pressure and a try already disallowed, Caolin Blade crawled over on the half hour mark. When Fitzgerald landed the conversion Connacht looked in control as they stood 10 points to the good.

That dominance was to be short lived though as Gerbrandt Grobler got in for a Gloucester try 2 minutes after Blade’s effort. While Connacht had another chance on the stroke of half time, the advantage remained 10-7 to the home side at the break.

Gloucester came out with a renewed enthusiasm in the second half and within five minutes were in front with a Mark Atkinson try which they failed to convert.

When Billy Twelvetrees got Gloucester’s third in the 66th minute, the away side were driving for a bonus point win. They didn’t have to wait long for the try and Atkinson was in again in the 69th minute. At this stage, with Gloucester winning 24 to 13, even the most optimistic Connacht supporters would have thought a win was almost impossible and even a losing bonus point was unlikely.

But the home side showed incredible belief and and when replacement hooker Delahunt got in, the momentum and the crowd were right behind Connacht.

Copeland’s try in injury time will be added to the many magical Sportsground moments that Connacht have witnessed in the Champions Cup. Their never say attitude tees them up nicely for the series of interpro fixtures over the Christmas period.

Munster at home are first in that trilogy – they come to the Sportsground on Saturday December 21st. Its expected to be another cracker!

Tickets available here.

Connacht Scorers:

Tries – C Blade, S Delahunt, R Copeland

Conversions – C Fitzgerald (3)

Penalties – C Fitzgerald (2)

Connacht: Jack Carty,  Niyi Adeolokun (Tom Daly),  Kyle Godwin, Bundee Aki, John Porch, Conor Fitzgerald, Caolin Blade ( Stephen Kerins), Peter McCabe (Denis Buckley), Dave Heffernan (Shane Delahunt), Dominic Robertson McCoy (Finlay Bealham), Ultan Dillane,  Joe Maksymiw (Niall Murray), Eoin McKeon (Eoghan Masterson), Jarrad Butler, Paul Boyle (Robin Copeland)

Carty starts at full back as Connacht prepare for Champions Cup clash with Gloucester

Ireland international Jack Carty is set to start at full back for Connacht in their Heineken Champions Cup clash with Gloucester on Saturday (Kick off 12:45pm). Carty is part of a back three that includes Niyi Adeolokun and John Porch on the wings.

Conor Fitzgerald and Caolin Blade also renew their half back partnership while Bundee Aki and Kyle Godwin start in midfield.

In the forwards, Captain Jarrad Butler will make his 50th appearance in a Connacht jersey. The openside is named in a backrow that includes the returning Eoin McKeon at blindside and Paul Boyle at number 8.

Having played all 80 minutes in his last three outings, lock Quinn Roux steps out so Ultan Dillane and Joe Maksymiw are named to start in the second row. 20 year old Academy player Niall Murray is included among the replacements for the first time.

In the front row Dave Heffernan comes back in at hooker with Peter McCabe and Dominic Robertson-McCoy at loosehead and tighthead respectively.

Commenting ahead of the game, Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend said: “This is a must win game for us if we are to advance in the Champions Cup this season. We are expecting a big crowd in the Sportsground and we know how difficult it can be to beat us especially when we are at home”.

“We have made a number of changes from last weekend with some positional changes and some fresh legs coming in. We have learned a lot from the away defeat and we have picked a side that we feel can beat Gloucester on Saturday”.

Connacht Matchday Squad V Gloucester (Sat 14 Dec, 12:45pm)

(15-9): Jack Carty, Niyi Adeolokun, Kyle Godwin, Bundee Aki, John Porch, Conor Fitzgerald, Caolin Blade (1-8): Peter McCabe, Dave Heffernan, Dominic Robertson McCoy, Ultan Dillane, Joe Maksymiw, Eoin McKeon, Jarrad Butler (Capt), Paul Boyle.

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Denis Buckley, Finlay Bealham, Niall Murray, Eoghan Masterson, Stephen Kerins, Tom Daly, Robin Copeland.

With just a six-day turnaround before the Gloucester return fixture, the squad held a gym session at The Sportsground this morning before returning to on-pitch matters tomorrow.
 
Join them for a simply must-win game in Europe this Saturday!
 
FIND YOUR MATCH TICKETS HERE

It’s win-or-bust for Connacht who welcome Gloucester to The Sportsground this Saturday in Round 4 of the Heineken Champions Cup pool stages.

The loss at Kingsholm last Sunday means Andy Friend’s side will be looking for a bonus point win that will propel them back into quarter-final contention.

Here’s all you need to know.
 
When’s the game?

Kick-off is at 12.45pm this Saturday 14th December at The Sportsground.
 
What’s the state of play so far?

Despite a strong start, Connacht will have ground to make up if they’re to reach the knockout stages of the Heineken Champions Cup for the first time.

They sit on 4 points after 3 games, with a win at home to Montpellier followed by disappointing defeats away to Toulouse and Gloucester.

A bonus-point win this weekend will go a long way to ensuring Connacht are right back in contention.
 
How’s our recent record against them?

It’s fair to say Gloucester have turned into a bogey team for Connacht in recent years. As well as their win last weekend, Gloucester also come out on top in the the 2014/15 and 2017/18 Challenge Cup quarter-finals as well as their Champions Cup playoff in 2015.

 
How will the two teams line up?

The Connacht squad for the game will be announced on all our channels and website shortly before midday this Friday.
 
Are tickets still available?

Yes there are a number of options available for those looking to come to the game. General admission tickets are available in the Bohermore and College Road Ends, while a Clubhouse Hospitality ticket will give you access to the Main Stand. You can also enjoy a Premium Hospitality package which, along with a Clan Stand ticket, includes a pre-match brunch with prosecco and wine.


 
FIND YOUR MATCH TICKETS HERE
 
What if I can’t make the game?

The game will be shown live on BT Sport 2 with radio commentary on Galway Bay FM. As with all our Heineken Champions Cup games it will not be shown on free-to-air TV, so the best way to experience it is at the ground.
 
How can I get there?

There is plenty of car parks within walking distance to The Sportsground, all of which are listed below. Please note that local restrictions will be in place so please respect our neighbours at all times.


 
Anything else I should know?

✅ Gates open from 11.15am.
❌ No smoking is allowed in any of our stands at The Sportsground. Thank you for your co-operation.

The squad trained at The Sportsground this morning with all the focus on a massive few weeks in Europe, starting this Sunday at Kingsholm away to Gloucester Rugby.
 
Gloucester repay the visit 10 days from now in a game you simply don’t want to miss!
 
FIND YOUR MATCH TICKETS HERE

Ireland internationals Bundee Aki and Kieran Marmion have returned to the Connacht starting XV to face Gloucester in the Challenge Cup quarter-final in the Sportsground on Saturday (kick-off 1pm).

It is set to be a fitting homecoming for Aki and Marmion along with fellow internationals Quinn Roux and Ultan Dillane as the Six Nations trophies will be displayed to the crowd for the clash with the English Premiership side.

The game will be a significant milestone for Jack Carty and Dave Heffernan as both are poised to make their 100th appearances for their province. Roscommon man Carty starts at out-half alongside Kieran Marmion while Ballina native Heffernan is named as replacement hooker.

Bundee Aki’s return sees him renew his centre partnership with Tom Farrell. They are included in a back line that features an unchanged back three of Tiernan O’Halloran at full-back and Niyi Adeolokun and Matt Healy on the wings. Healy has been in incredible form in the Challenge Cup this season with eights tries so far in the competition.

Speaking ahead of the game Connacht Head Coach Kieran Keane said his side will face a massive challenge against the English side. “We have had a really close look at them and how they have been playing. I think they have a very similar approach to the game as we do so it’s going to be a tough game for both sides and both teams will fancy their chances”, Keane said.

“The home advantage will be big for us. Our supporters have been fantastic this season and have made the Sportsground a really difficult place to travel for away teams. I know they will give us another lift again tomorrow and the boys are determined to give them something to shout about”, Keane added.

#CONvGLO

Kick-off 1pm:

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun, Bundee Aki, Tom Farrell, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux, Eoin McKeon, Jarrad Butler, John Muldoon (Capt).

Replacements (16-23): Dave Heffernan, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, Ultan Dillane, Eoghan Masterson, Caolin Blade, Craig Ronaldson, Darragh Leader.

Tickets Update

Fans who have yet to purchase tickets for the game are being asked to note that only Bohermore Terrace tickets are now available, and can be purchased here.

Connacht v Gloucester – Saturday 31st Mar, 13:00. Gates open at 11:00.

Gates will be open at 11am in order to facilitate the large crowd. Extra terracing is also in place. The game is our biggest of the season so far as a win would mean we’re one game away from a place in the Challenge Cup final in Bilbao, Spain on May 11th.


Team News

The coaching team will name the starting 15 at lunchtime on Friday. In advance of that announcement the medical department issued the following squad update.


Six Nations Trophies

Following Ireland’s Grand Slam success, the Six Nations and Triple Crown trophies will be at the Sportsground where there’ll be plenty of opportunities for fans to get their pictures taken with the cups. We want to make sure everyone who wants a photo can get one but we’re expecting a large crowd, so the earlier you get in the better!


 

The Green Mile is back! Before kick-off we’re calling on all fans young and old to march to the Sportsground together ahead of the big game. The Mile begins at Massimos on William Street where we’ll be leaving at 10.30am on Saturday, but if you get there early there’ll be face painting for the kids and everyone will also receive a Connacht flag.

From there the Green Mile heads to the Sportsground led by Eddie the Eagles and 18 members of Drumodore. We’ll be at the Sportsground by 11.30am, giving us plenty time to get ready to cheer on the lads!


Easter Egg Saturday

Being Easter Saturday we’ll be providing free Easter Eggs to all junior ticket holders ahead of kickoff. No better way to start off a massive day!


Special Four Star Pizza Offer

Special Connacht Rugby fan deal this weekend ONLY, get a Large Pizza for just €10 – that’s just €1 a slice. Use the code RUGBY10 online http://bit.ly/2CWwLXL or call the store on 091 567568 to get the special deal.


Next Home Game

Our next and final home game of the season is against Leinster on the weekend of the 27th/28th/29th April. Tickets are now on sale. We hope to announce the exact day and kickoff time in the coming days so keep an eye on all our social channels – when we know you’ll know.


Free WiFi powered by Magnet Networks

Make sure you connect to our free WiFi and be in with a chance to win tickets to our next home game against Leinster.

*NEW* By connecting via Facebook you will be automatically connected for every game.


Live post-match Champions Cup action

For season ticket members, we will be showing live Champions Cup action in the Heineken Rugby Clubhouse from 3.15pm.

The Connacht management team have provided the latest squad update ahead of Saturday’s European Challenge Cup quarter-final with Gloucester at the Sportsground:

Prop:
JP Cooney is recovering from hamstring surgery and will be out of action until May.

Hooker:
Pat O’Toole is continuing his rehabilitation for his hamstring injury under the supervision of the medical and performance team.

Lock:
Andrew Browne is continuing his reintegration into full squad training following injury sustained against Ospreys.

Back Row:
Jake Heenan is continuing his rehabilitation from shoulder surgery and will be out of action until late April.

Centre:

Eoin Griffin sustained a minor hamstring injury in the game versus Edinburgh and will be managed by the medical and performance team this week.

Back Three:

Cian Kelleher has undergone surgery for the ankle injury he sustained versus Cheetahs and will be out of action until May.

Rory Scholes sustained an ankle injury in a club game at the weekend and is awaiting the results of a scan to determine the extent of the injury.

 

 

All Season Ticket holder that purchased Gloucester match tickets through the portal, please follow the instructions below to print off your ticket in time for the Quarter Final next weekend.

 

  1. Go to http://cbirfu.seasontickets.ie/
  2. Click on
  3. Login with your email and password
  4. On the top menu select “My Tickets”
  5. Your purchased tickets for the the Gloucester will be available to download and print from here.

 

 

 

Connacht Rugby have announced that they will be installing additional temporary terracing in the Sportsground for the European Challenge Cup Quarter Final clash with Gloucester on Saturday 31st of March (K.O. at 1pm). The decision was taken due to the unprecedented level of ticket sales for the home quarter final with large numbers already purchasing tickets online.

The extended terracing is being installed at both the Bohermore and College Road ends of the Sportsground to facilitate the increased demand.

Tickets for the additional terracing are on sale immediately and supporters are encouraged to purchase tickets early to avoid disappointment. In addition, tickets not purchased by away supporters and sponsors of the European competition will also now be released back on general sale.

 

Gates will be open two hours before kick-off on matchday, so patrons can arrive early and enjoy the match day experience.

Connacht have reached the Quarter Final of the Challenge Cup by topping Pool 5 of the competition in an unbeaten run of six games.

 

 

 

 

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