By Aron Hegarty
 
Connacht Eagles produced a devastating display as they notched up 11 tries in a one-sided encounter with Leinster Rugby in their interprovincial series game at the IRFU High Performance Centre in Abbotstown today.
 
First-half tries from hooker Charlie Ward, wingers Josh O’Connor and Mack Hansen (2), and captain Conor Fitzgerald put the Westerners 29-0 up as they overwhelmed and utterly dominated the hosts; restricting them to just two serious attacks in the match.
 
The one-way traffic from the visitors continued after the restart with further tries from centres Peter Sullivan and Cathal Forde, substitute Darragh Kennedy, prop Greg McGrath and full-back Oran McNulty for 60-0.
 
An outclassed Leinster did grab a late consolation through replacement Conor Duggan of St. Vincent’s Castleknock College before Connacht prop Will Reilly completed the rout in added on time.
 
Following their narrow defeat to Ulster last weekend, Leinster were looking to bounce back and make a strong start as they practiced hitting the tackle pads right up until a minute before the whistle sounded for kick-off.
 
However, they came up against a formidable Connacht outfit who from the onset looked to play an expansive game, spinning the ball wide at every opportunity and starved Leinster of possession and territory with their rush up defence forcing turnovers.
 
The difference in quality told inside the opening 10 minutes as the speedy Hansen dived over in the corner on four minutes and Ward crossed from close range on the other side as Connacht raced into a 10-0 led.
 
O’Connor showed Jonah Lomu-like strength on 17 minutes as he brushed off three attempted tackles while sprinting down the touchline to score. Fitzgerald made it third-time lucky with the conversion for 17-0.
 
Five minutes later, Hansen grabbed his second try when he stepped inside following a break in midfield and a stunned Leinster were left with a mountain to climb.
 
Yellow cards were shown to Leinster captain John McKee and Connacht centre Sullivan before the home side registered their first major attack inside the Connacht 22’ on the half hour.
 
Despite several phases and attempts by Leinster to inch closer to the try-line, Fitzgerald intercepted a pass to the backline and ran the length of the pitch to score then converted to put Connacht in a commanding position at the break.
 
A series of substitutions, injury treatments and water breaks on a sweltering hot day halted the onslaught after the resumption until the hour mark, when Connacht crossed five times in a bulldozing 17-minute period.
 
The returning Sullivan and fellow centre Forde broke through the home defence from attacking backline moves to cross as Leinster struggled to halt Connacht’s momentum.
 
Replacement Kennedy jotted over after an off-load from Sullivan, McGrath touched down under the posts and McNulty shrugged off a tackle to touch down as Fitzgerald took the scoring to 60.
 
Leinster though, who were competitive at set-pieces – particularly in the scrum – but ultimately second best in all other departments, did finally get points on board from their first foray of the second half inside the Connacht 22’ in the 78th minute.
 
Following a penalty and lineout, substitute Duggan burrowed over from close range and out-half Charlie Tector of Kilkenny College/Lansdowne FC successfully landed his one and only kick.
 
There was still time for Reilly to add further salt to Leinster’s wounds as he crossed for the game’s 12th try and Fitzgerald easily converted his sixth kick to round off the scoring.
 
Scorers – Leinster Rugby Development XV: Tries: Conor Duggan. Cons: Charlie Tector. Connacht Rugby Development XV: Tries: Charlie Ward, Mack Hansen (2), Josh O’Connor, Conor Fitzgerald, Peter Sullivan, Cathal Forde, Darragh Kennedy, Greg McGrath, Oran McNulty, Will Reilly. Cons: Conor Fitzgerald (6).
 
CONNACHT EAGLES XV: Oran McNulty; Josh O’Connor, Peter Sullivan, Cathal Forde, Mack Hansen; Conor Fitzgerald, Will Reilly; Charlie Ward, Dylan Tierney-Martin, Greg McGrath; Eoin Ryan, Fiachna Barrett; Jonny Murphy, Oisin McCormack, Ciaran Booth.
 
Replacements: Kolo Kiripati, Bart Vermeulen, Kacpur Palamarczuk, Gareth Kilkelly, Matthew O’Hara, Matthew Devine, Darragh Kennedy, Declan O’Loughlin.
 
LEINSTER RUGBY DEVELOPMENT XV: Dylan O’Grady (Belvedere College); Fionn Gibbons (Castleknock College), Conor Gibney (CBS Mullingar/Mullingar RFC), Ben Brownlee (Blackrock College), Aitzol Arenzana-King (CUS/Balbriggan RFC); Charlie Tector (Kilkenny College/Lansdowne FC), Seanan Devereux (St. Mary’s College); Ben Popplewell (Wexford Wanderers/Blackrock College), John McKee (Old Belvedere RFC), Thomas Connolly (DUFC); Conor O Tighearnaigh (St. Michael’s College), Fionn McWey (Cistercian College Roscrea); Will McDonald (IQ Rugby), Dylan Ryan (St. Michael’s College/DUFC), Donough Lawlor (Newbridge College).
 
Replacements: Barry Gray (Colaiste Lorcain, Castledermot/Clontarf RFC), Oisin Michel (Partrician Secondary School, Newbridge/Lansdowne RFC), Michael McCormack (St. Mary’s College RFC), Paul Deeney (St. Peter’s College, Wexford / Clontarf RFC), Jonathan Ross (Belvedere College), Conor Duggan (St. Vincent’s Castleknock College), Daniel Hawkshaw (Belvedere College), Callam O’Reilly (St. Michael’s College)
 

It’s been confirmed that the Connacht Eagles will face Leinster ‘A’ in a Development Interprovincial Game tomorrow in Dublin.
 
Kick-off is at 12pm at the HPC in Abbotstown, and Connacht will have HT and FT updates on our social media channels.
 
The Eagles will line out as follows:
 
15. Oran McNulty
14. Josh O’Connor
13. Peter Sullivan
12. Cathal Forde
11. Mack Hansen
10. Conor Fitzgerald (C)
9. Will Reilly

1. Charlie Ward
2. Dylan Tierney-Martin
3. Greg McGrath
4. Eoin Ryan
5. Fiachna Barrett
6. Jonny Murphy
7. Oisin McCormack
8. Ciaran Booth

Reserves
16. Kolo Kiripati
17. Bart Vermeulen
18. Kacper Palamarczuk
19. Gareth Kilkelly
20. Matthew O’Hara
21. Matthew Devine
22. Darragh Kennedy
23. Declan O’Loughlin

The Connacht Eagles side has been named for tomorrow’s Interprovincial Friendy with Leinster ‘A’ at The Sportsground (k/o 1pm).
 
The side is captained by Sean Masterson and again includes a mix of Professional and Academy players.
 
Connacht Rugby will be hosting a LIVE stream of the game on the Connacht Rugby YouTube page and connachtrugby.ie, with coverage starting at 12.45pm.
 
CONNACHT EAGLES V LEINSTER ‘A’
1pm, Saturday 10th April @ The Sportsground

15. Oran McNulty
14. Peter Sullivan
13. Diarmuid Kilgallen
12. Cathal Forde
11. Ben O’Donnell
10. Conor Fitzgerald
9. Colm Reilly

1. Matthew Burke
2. Johnny Murphy
3. Dominic Robertson-McCoy
4. Niall Murray
5. Cian Prendergast
6. Ciaran Booth
7. Sean Masterson (C)
8. Abraham Papali’i

Replacements
16. Dylan Tierney-Martin
17. Jordan Duggan
18. Conor Kenny
19. Oisin McCormack
20. Donncha Byrne
21. Hubert Gilvarry
22. Shane Jennings
23. Matthew Devine
24. Diarmuid McCormack

 

By John O’Sullivan 

 

Connacht Eagles 24-24 Munster A

 

A late Shane Jennings try earned the Connacht Eagles a 24-24 draw with Munster A in an entertaining clash at the Sportsground.

 

Tries from Dylan Tierney Martin and Diarmuid Kilgallen saw the hosts lead 12-0 midway through the first half, but Munster — with three tries and a penalty — turned the game around and lead 24-12 with fifteen minutes remaining.

 

However, Connacht never relented and claimed the draw after late tries from Stephen Kerins and Jennings saw them deservedly share the spoils after a thrilling attacking performance.

 

In the glorious Sportsground sunshine, Connacht were intent on playing with width and pace and this approach yielded scores early on. 

 

After a cutting line and offload from lock Cian Prendergast, the home team established field position in Munster’s 22. Building phases with hard carries close to the line, the ball was worked to Tierney Martin and the former Ireland under 20’s hooker powered his way over the line. Fitzgerald made no mistake in adding the extras from the tee and the Eagles found themselves in a deserved 7-0 lead. 

 

With their tails up, Connacht were playing with confidence and expression in the attack. Playing in the outside centre berth, Ben O’Donnell punctured through the Munster A defence and brought the hosts forward momentum. 

 

From there, the ball was worked wide and the Eagles — who had a man advantage after the away teams winger, Calvin Nash was yellow carded for an intentional knock-on — took advantage of the space and Kilgallen dived in over the line in the left-hand corner for 12-0.

 

Munster grew into the contest thereafter and when Connacht were reduced to 14 men after Oran McNulty’s yellow card, the visitors responded with a quickfire 17 points. Jake Flannery started the scoring with a penalty and tries followed from Nash and Coombes, both of which Flannery converted, and the away team lead 17-10 going into the interval. 

 

The away team began the second half in a similar manner to which they finished the first and they had their third try when Nash completed his brace by crossing the line in the right-hand corner to take the score to 24-10.

 

With fly-half Fitzgerald prominent in the creative stakes, Connacht grew into the game and began threatening the Munster defence. 

 

A powerful line out was a prominent feature of the Eagles’ game plan and they used it as a platform to score their third try. With a rolling maul trundling towards the line, Kerins identified a gap in the away teams defence and he jinked through it to touch down for a try that Fitzgerald converted to take the score to 24-17.

 

With time running out, the hosts seized the initiative and their perseverance was rewarded with a deserved late try.

 

A huge run from Peter Sullivan burst through the Munster defence and brought Connacht into the visitors 22. From there, the ball was worked wide and Jennings showed pace to touch down in the left corner and to draw the game with effectively the last play.

Eagles Team: 

(15-9)

15. Oran McNulty
14. Peter Sullivan
13. Ben O’Donnell
12. Cathal Forde
11. Diarmuid Kilgallen
10. Conor Fitzgerald
9. Colm Reilly

 

(1-8)

1. Charlie Ward
2. Dylan Tierney-Martin
3. Dominic Robertson-McCoy
4. Cian Prendergast
5. Ciaran Booth
6. Donnacha Byrne
7. Sean Masterson (c)
8. Abraham Papali’i

16. Declan Adamson
17. Eoin de Buitlear
18. Conor Kenny
19. Diarmuid McCormack
20. Oisin McCormack
21. Stephen Kerins
22. Shane Jennings
23. Hubert Gilvarry
24. Joshua Dunne

The Connacht Eagles team has been selected for the latest ‘A’ interprovincial friendly with Munster at The Sportsground tomorrow (k/o 12pm).
 
The side is captained by Sean Masterson with fellow Pro players Abraham Papali’i, Ben O’Donnell, Peter Sullivan, Conor Fitzgerald, Colm Reilly and Dominic Robertson-McCoy also starting.
 
Connacht Rugby can also confirm that the game will be streamed LIVE on the Connacht Rugby YouTube page at the link below.
 
CONNACHT EAGLES MATCHDAY SQUAD VS MUNSTER ‘A’
12pm, Saturday 6th March 2021 @ The Sportsground
 
15. Oran McNulty
14. Peter Sullivan
13. Ben O’Donnell
12. Cathal Forde
11. Diarmuid Kilgallen
10. Conor Fitzgerald
9. Colm Reilly
1. Charlie Ward
2. Dylan Tierney-Martin
3. Dominic Robertson-McCoy
4. Cian Prendergast
5. Ciaran Booth
6. Donnacha Byrne
7. Sean Masterson (c)
8. Abraham Papali’i

16. Declan Adamson
17. Eoin de Buitlear
18. Conor Kenny
19. Diarmuid McCormack
20. Oisin McCormack
21. Stephen Kerins
22. Shane Jennings
23. Hubert Gilvarry
24. Joshua Dunne

The Connacht Eagles side has been named for tomorrow’s interpro friendly at The Sportsground against Munster ‘A’.
 
The side features a mixture of Pro and Academy players who will be eager to pick up some game-time heading into an important part of the campaign.
 
Match updates will be posted on the Connacht Rugby Twitter page with match highlights to follow on our social channels.
 
CONNACHT EAGLES v MUNSTER ‘A’
Friday 12th February, 13:00, The Sportsground

15. Conor Dean
14. Diarmuid Kilgallen
13. Shane Jennings
12. Cathal Forde
11. Oran McNulty
10. Conor Fitzgerald
9. Colm Reilly

1. Paddy McAllister
2. Dylan Tierney-Martin
3. Dominic Robertson-McCoy
4. Cian Prendergast
5. Darragh Murray
6. Sean O’Brien
7. Ciaran Booth
8. Sean Masterson
 
Replacements from: Eoin de Buitlear, Charlie Ward, Conor Kenny, Hubert Costello, Oisin McCormack, Matthew Devine, Donnacha Byrne, Tiernan O’Halloran, Declan Adamson, Joshua Dunne, Diarmuid McCormack

The Connacht Eagles team has been named for tomorrow’s ‘A’ interprovincial friendly with Ulster A at The Sportsground (k/o 1.00pm).
 
There’s a first start for summer arrival Oisin Dowling who has recovered from a long-term back injury, while the rest of the squad features a mix of Academy players and Pro squad members looking to get game-time ahead of the Christmas fixtures.
 
Connacht Rugby will have updates of the game across our social media channels.
 
CONNACHT EAGLES SQUAD V ULSTER A
Friday 18th December, The Sportsground, kick-off 1.00pm

15. Oran McNulty
14. Diarmuid Kilgallen
13. Shane Jennings
12. Sean O’Brien
11. Colm de Buitlear
10. Conor Fitzgerald
9. Colm Reilly
1. Matthew Burke
2. Dylan Tierney-Martin
3. Dominic Robertson-McCoy
4. Oisin Dowling
5. Darragh Murray
6. Ciaran Booth
7. Oisin McCormack
8. Donncha Byrne

Replacements from: Declan Adamson, Charlie Ward, Conor Kenny, Cormac Daly, Joshua Dunne, Stephen Kerins, Cathal Forde, Peter Sullivan, Conor Dunne, Hubert Costello, Eoin de Buitlear, Hubert Gilvarry, Matthew Devine, Rory McClane.

The Connacht Eagles management team have named their squad for tomorrow’s ‘A’ interprovincial clash with Leinster A at Energia Park (k/o 2.00pm)
 
The game is the first of back-to-back interpros for the Eagles, with the squad also hosting Ulster next Friday at The Sportsground.
 
The squad includes a mixture of Pros and Academy players looking to build on the National Sevens fixtures.
 
CONNACHT EAGLES SQUAD V LEINSTER A
Saturday 12th December, Energia Park, Kick-Off 2.00pm

15. Oran McNulty
14. Diarmuid Kilgallen
13. Shane Jennings
12. Sean O’Brien
11. Colm de Buitlear
10. Cathal Forde
9. Stephen Kerins
1. Paddy McAllister
2. Dylan Tierney-Martin
3. Dominic Robertson-McCoy
4. Cormac Daly
5. Darragh Murray
6. Joshua Dunne
7. Oisin McCormack
8. Donnacha Byrne

Replacements from: Declan Adamson, Matthew Burke, Conor Kenny, Hubert Costello, Hubert Gilvarry, Peter Sullivan, Rory McCleane, Eoin de Buitlear, Ciaran Booth.

The Connacht management team have named their squad of Eagles players for tomorrow’s return friendly fixture against Munster ‘A’ at Thomond Park (k/o 3pm).
 
Jarrad Butler captains a strong squad eager to get some game-time ahead of next week’s Guinness PRO14 season opener against Glasgow Warriors at The Sportsground.
 
14 players are among the replacements, three of whom – Sean O’Brien, Diarmuid Kilgallen and Oran McNulty – are currently training with the Connacht Academy.
 
The game will be streamed live on www.munsterrugby.ie.
 
CONNACHT EAGLES XV & REPLACEMENTS VS MUNSTER ‘A’ (SATURDAY 26TH SEPTEMBER @ THOMOND PARK – KICK OFF 3PM)
 
15. Tiernan O’Halloran
14. Peter Sullivan
13. Tom Farrell
12. Tom Daly
11. John Porch
10. Jack Carty
9. Kieran Marmion
1. Paddy McAllister
2. Dave Heffernan
3. Finlay Bealham
4. Ultan Dillane
5. Gavin Thornbury
6. Eoghan Masterson
7. Jarrad Butler (c)
8. Paul Boyle
 
16. Denis Buckley
17. Jonny Murphy
18. Dominic Robertson-McCoy
19. Niall Murray
20. Quinn Roux
21. Conor Oliver
22. Sean Masterson
23. Caolin Blade
24. Conor Fitzgerald
25. Sammy Arnold
26. Sean O’Brien (Acad)
27. Colm de Buitléar
28. Diarmuid Kilgallen
29. Oran McNulty

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