Connacht 14

Munster 19

In a hotly-contested encounter, the boot of JJ Hanrahan was of vital importance to Munster as his kept the scoreboard ticking over.

Jack O’Donoghue scored Munster’s only try while Jack Carty crossed for Connacht in the closing stages but it wasn’t enough.

After a hard-fought opening period, Munster got their first points through a Hanrahan penalty but Connacht closed the gap when Conor Fitzgerald scored one of his own.

With twenty minutes on the clock, after a penalty advantage Hanrahan slotted his second penalty in front of goal.

Munster soon sparked into action and it was O’Donoghue who crossed the try line after a series of pick and goes while Hanrahan added the extras.

Connacht never gave in and added to their tally through Fitzgerald before Hanrahan claimed another three points.

A move just before the break saw Connacht make ground into the Munster 22 and it gave Fitzgerald a chance to reduce the deficit once again, which he duly took.

Hanrahan took his tally to 14 points when he kicked another penalty early in the second half.

Despite Connacht scoring their first try when Carty was released down the blindside with ten minutes remaining, Munster held firm.

So its away interpros next up for against Ulster and Leinster before returning to the Sportsground for Champions Cup action against Toulouse on the 11th of January – Click here for tickets.

CONNACHT: Tiernan O’Halloran; John Porch, Tom Daly, Bundee Aki, Kyle Godwin; Conor Fitzgerald, Caolin Blade; Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham; Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux (capt); Eoghan Masterson, Paul Boyle, Eoin McKeon.

Replacements: Stephen Fitzgerald for O’Halloran (55 mins), Shane Delahunt for Heffernan, Dominic Robertson-McCoy for Bealham (both 59), Jack Carty for C Fitzgerald (60), Robin Copeland for Masterson (61), Conor Kenny for Buckley (71), Joe Maksymiw for Roux (72), Stephen Kerins for Blade (73).

Ireland international Quinn Roux will Captain Connacht as his side face Munster in the Guinness Pro14 in the Sportsground on Saturday (Kick off 5:15pm). With just one point separating the two sides at the top of Conference B, the top of the table clash takes on extra significance for the second row as he is set to make his 100th appearance for the province.

Connacht also go into the game boosted by the news that Tiernan O’Halloran has returned from injury and will start at full back. He is part of a back three with John Porch and Kyle Godwin on the wings.

In the Connacht midfield, Tom Daly has forced his way into the starting team alongside Bundee Aki. While Conor Fitzgerald continues his half back partnership with Caolin Blade, who has now featured in all 11 of Connacht’s games so far this season.

In the forwards, the tight five has a very familiar look; props Denis Buckley and Finlay are included in the starting team as is hooker Dave Heffernan. While Ultan Dillane will line up alongside Roux in the second row.

In the back row Eoghan Masterson and Paul Boyle are named at blindside and openside respectively with Eoin McKeon at number 8. Captain Jarrad Butler has been ruled out due to illness.

Commenting ahead of the game, Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend said: “Saturday is another big occasion in the Sportsground. All players want to be involved in these interpro games and with Munster in our conference it takes on extra significance. We take pride in our home record and last season Munster were one of the few teams to beat us in the Sportsground so we know the challenge we will face tomorrow”.

“It will be a proud day for Quinn Roux and his family. Making 100 appearances for Connacht is a great achievement and it is fitting that with Jarrad out, Quinn will captain the side. He has been a real leader for us this season and has been driving standards among the player group”.

Connacht Matchday Squad V Munster (Sat 21 Dec, 5:15pm)

 (15-9): Tiernan O’Halloran, John Porch, Tom Daly, Bundee Aki, Kyle Godwin, Conor Fitzgerald, Caolin Blade (1-8): Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux (Capt), Eoghan Masterson, Paul Boyle, Eoin McKeon.

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Conor Kenny, Dominic Robertson McCoy, Joe Maksymiw, Robin Copeland, Stephen Kerins, Jack Carty, Stephen Fitzgerald.



Connacht made it 3 wins from 3 in the 2019/20 pre-season campaign with an entertaining 40-31 win over Munster at The Sportsground on Saturday.
Two tries each from scrum-halves Caolin Blade and Kieran Marmion, as well as a try from Peter Robb and captain Jarrad Butler, secured an impressive victory with the squad now going into the start of the Guinness PRO14 campaign on a high.
Here’s every Connacht try from the game.

Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend has named a strong side to face near neighbours Munster on Saturday (Kick off 3pm), in the third and final fixture of Connacht’s pre-season preparations.
With an away trip to Scarlets in the opening round of the Guinness Pro14 next weekend, Connacht will be looking for a win in the Sportsground to add to victories over Oyonnax and the Russian National team over the past few weeks.
With Jack Carty away on World Cup duty in Japan, Conor Fitzgerald is named at out half with academy prospect Conor Dean named among the replacements. Caolin Blade will be Fitzgerald’s half back partner, with Kieran Marmion due to feature off the bench.
Tom Farrell and Kyle Godwin will start in midfield, while the back three sees Tiernan O’Halloran at full back with Matt Healy and Stephen Fitzgerald on the wings. Fitzgerald will be hoping to maintain the form he showed against Russia when he scored tries in against the World Cup side in Moscow.
Paddy McAllister is set for his first appearance in a Connacht jersey since signing from Gloucester in the summer. The loosehead is named in a front row alongside experienced hooker Tom McCartney and Finlay Bealham at tighthead.
In the second row, Gavin Thornbury will start alongside Quinn Roux with Ultan Dillane named on the bench. While the back row includes Eoghan Masterson and Colby Fainga’a at blindside and openside respectively with Captain Jarrad Butler at number 8.
The game kicks off in the Sportsground at 3pm and tickets are available to purchase from
Connacht Matchday Squad:

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Stephen Fitzgerald, Kyle Godwin, Tom Farrell, Matt Healy, Conor Fitzgerald, Caolin Blade, (1-8) Paddy McAllister, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux, Eoghan Masterson, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (Capt).

Replacements (16-23): Jonny Murphy, Denis Buckley, Dominic Robertson McCoy, Ultan Dillane, Eoin McKeon, Kieran Marmion, Conor Dean, John Porch, Paul Boyle, Peter Robb

Tickets are now on general sale for our pre-season friendly with Munster Rugby at The Sportsground on Saturday 21st September.
Tickets cost just €10 for adults, €5 for U16s, €15 for the Grant Thornton Seated Stand and €20 for a family bundle of 2x adults and 2x
Book your spot before it’s too late!

Connacht will taking on inter-provincial neighbours Munster in a pre-season friendly, it’s been confirmed today.
The game will take place at The Sportsground on Saturday 21st September, one week before Andy Friend’s side are scheduled to begin their Guinness PRO14 campaign for 2019/20.
Tickets for the game will go on sale in the coming days while season ticket members go free.

Check out the best pics from Saturday’s disappointing interpro defeat to Munster in the Guinness PRO14.

Andy Friend and Paul Boyle took questions from the media after Saturday’s 31-24 defeat to Munster in the Guinness PRO14.
The side came up just short in an entertaining game but managed to secure a losing bonus point in the final quarter.

Prop Denis Buckley is set to make his 150th appearance for his province as the Roscommon man is named in Connacht’s starting side to face Munster in the Sportsground on Saturday (Kick off 7:35pm). Tickets for the interpro derby have completely sold out as Andy Friend’s side go into the fixture with six wins in their last seven games.
Buckley is named in a front row that includes hooker Dave Heffernan who takes over the captaincy from Jarrad Butler who picked up a knock in the win over Ulster. In the second row the partnership of Quinn Roux and Gavin Thornbury continues with Ultan Dillane named among the replacements.
In the back-row Paul Boyle is named at blindside with Colby Fainga’a at openside and Eoghan Masterson coming into the starting side at number 8.
Jack Carty and Caolin Blade continue their half back partnership, with Blade named in the match day squad for the 16th game in a row.
In the midfield Tom Daly, who joined Connacht on loan in December, is set to make his Connacht debut alongside Tom Farrell.
In the back three, Connacht’s record try scorer Matt Healy returns from injury to take his place on the wing with Cian Kelleher on the opposite wing and Darragh Leader at full back.
Ahead of the game, Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend, says his side face another huge challenge against Munster; “This block of three interpros is a tough series of fixtures and has a huge bearing on the overall context of the season. We were disappointed to lose narrowly to Leinster in Dublin but we showed great character to bounce back and beat a really tough Ulster side last weekend. This clash with Munster is a big game and we will have to put in a huge performance to get a result on Saturday. As always though we will focus on our game. That’s where our focus has been all week and that’s where it has been all season.
Commenting on his team selection, Friend added; “Dave Heffernan takes over the captaincy from Jarrad this week as he is carrying a knock. It’s also a huge occasion for Denis Buckley and his family as he will play his 150th game in a Connacht jersey. We are looking forward to another huge occasion in the Sportsground and we can see the people of the province have voted with their feet again with the game completely sold out since early in the week. They have been huge for us this season both home and away and we will be looking to feed off them again on Saturday evening.
Kick-off 7:35pm:
(15-9) Darragh Leader, Cian Kelleher, Tom Farrell, Tom Daly, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan (Capt), Dominic Robertson Mc-Coy, Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux, Paul Boyle, Colby Fainga’a, Eoghan Masterson.
Replacements (16-23): Tom McCartney, Peter McCabe, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Cillian Gallagher, Angus Lloyd, David Horwitz, Colm DeBuitlear.

Ahead of this weekend’s vital Guinness PRO14 interpro with Munster, defence coach Pete Wilkins spoke to the media at the pre-match press conference at the Sportsground.
Pete reflected on a positive Christmas block of games so far for the squad, and the role of the Connacht supporters with the game already a complete sellout.

If you didn’t manage to pick up a ticket for this weekend, you can still join us one week later when we welcome Sale Sharks for a crucial European Challenge Cup pool game.
You can purchase tickets HERE.


Late Carty try rescues losing bonus point as Munster hold on for victory