Connacht Eagles 19-22 Munster A

The Connacht Eagles were narrowly defeated by their Munster counterparts in a keenly contested interprovincial clash at the Sportsground today.

Tries from Conor Oliver, Diarmuid Kilgannen and Jack Aungier saw the hosts establish a lead with a quarter of the game remaining, but a late Diarmuid Barron try saw the visitors claim the win in the first professional game to take place outside of Dublin in six months.

There was no signs of rust from either side — despite the lack of game time — in the early proceedings and it was Connacht who struck first blood in the glorious Galway sunshine.

Captain Oliver, against his former club, was the beneficiary of a move started by Jonny Murphy. The hooker made big head way into Munster territory with a hard carry and, after a few phases, Kilgannen spun the ball to the openside to dive over.

The conversion was wide, but the hosts were worthy of their lead.

Munster weren’t long in responding, however, and fly-half Ben Healy ran in for a brilliant solo try which he converted himself to give the visitors a 7-5 lead.

With the winds in their sails, the Southerners extended their lead further when Barron — the former Irish U20’s hooker — picked from the base of a powerful rolling maul to touch down. Healy converted with aplomb to stretch Munster’s lead even further to 14-5.

The first half was proving to be a try laden affair and it was Connacht’s turn to next cross the white wash. Quick thinking from scrum-half Stephen Kerins’ saw the Sligoman run a penalty and establish the Eagles field position deep in Munster territory.

After phases of pressure, the ball was recycled wide to lock Niall Murray and the Roscommon native’s pass found Kilgannen and the winger touched down tight to the left hand touchline. Despite the narrow angle, Conor Dean slotted a brilliant conversion.

Munster would add the final score of a fiercely competitive half with Healy’s penalty taking the half time score to 17-12 to the visitors.

There was no let up in intensity in the second half, even with a raft of changes from both teams.

Aungier, who replaced Conor Kenny at tight-head, made an instant impact when he picked the ball off the back of a surging rolling maul and dove over from close range. Dean once again made no mistake with the conversion and the Eagles established a deserved 19-17 lead.

Munster continued to probe in search of a win and they eventually broke Connacht’s resolve — which had stoutly denied the visitors — with Barron completing his brace with a powerful burst from close range seeing him burrow over the line.

The conversion drifted wide, but Munster held on to seal the victory.

The Eagles will be disappointed to lose but there are ample positives for the players and the coaching staff to take into the season.

Connacht Eagles team:
(15-9)
John Porch; Colm de Buitlear, Sam Arnold, Tom Daly Diarmuid Kilgannen; Conor Dean, Stephen Kerins.

(8-1) Sean Masterson, Conor Oliver(C), Oisin McCormack; Niall Murray, Cian Prendergast; Conor Kenny, Jonny Murphy, Jordan Duggan

Replacements:
16. Dylan Tierney-Martin
17. Matthew Burke
18. Jack Aungier
19. Darragh Murray
20. Joshua Dunne
21. Colm Reilly
22. Cathal Forde
23. Shane Jennings
24. Oran McNulty
25. Peter Sullivan

 

Live Stream of Connacht Eagles vs Munster ‘A’ from The Sportsground.
Saturday 19th September – K/O 2pm

First Half

 

Second Half

Connacht Head Coach Kieran Keane has announced his starting XV to take on Munster in Thomond Park on Saturday (Kick Of 7:45pm – Live on TG4). Irish Internationals Ultan Dillane, Kieran Marmion and Bundee Aki are all rested this weekend in an effort to manage their game time.

 

Prop Peter McCabe is given a start against his former club and he is joined in the front row by Hooker Tom McCartney and tight head Conor Carey. Quinn Roux comes into the second row and there is a third start of the season in the back row for 20 year old Sligo native and Academy player Cillian Gallagher.

 

Eoin Griffin and Pita Ahki form the new centre partnership and the back three is made up or Tiernan O’Halloran at fullback with Niyi Adeolokun and Matt Healy on the wings. Caolin Blade comes in at scrum half and will play alongside Jack Carty. Among the replacements, prop Conan O’Donnell and back row Paul Boyle make the step up from the Connacht Academy.

 

Speaking ahead of the clash with Munster, Connacht Head Coach Kieran said: “We have come through a series of big games and some guys have seen a lot of game time. Our internationals in particular are due a break especially with the Six Nations just around the corner. The squad is in a really good place at the moment. Obviously, we felt we could and should have won against Leinster and we came very close. We did the review during the week, we identified where we came up short and now we move on. The performance and effort levels from the boys over the past few weeks has been top quality and particularly in the interpro series we have seen some real character.”

We have some changes in personnel for the Munster game so there are opportunities for other guys to show what they are capable of. Munster will be hurting after their two games over the Christmas period and at home they will be a massive challenge. They have quality all over the park and I’m sure they will be really determined to get back to winning ways before they get back to European competition”.

 

#MUNvCON

Kick-off 7:45pm:

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun, Eoin Griffin, Pita Ahki, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade,
(1-8) Peter McCabe, Tom McCartney, Conor Carey, Quinn Roux, James Cannon, Cillian Gallagher, Jarrad Butler, John Muldoon (Capt)

Replacements (16-23): Shane Delahunt, Conan O’Donnell, Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, Paul Boyle, James Mitchell, Craig Ronaldson, Darragh Leader.

 

 

 

 

It was another memorable night in a packed out Sportsground. Tiernan O’Halloran and Tom Farrell both touched down to help recover a 10-0 deficit and make it three wins in a row.

 

 

Next up at the Sportsground, South Africa’s Cheetahs visit for the first time next Saturday at 7.35pm. It will be another vital Conference A clash.

 

The game now 85% sold out with limited Main Terrace tickets available here.

 

Connacht v Cheetahs

 

Ahead of the final round of Guinness PRO12 action this season, head coach Pat Lam has made eleven changes to his side to face Munster at Thomond Park tomorrow (5:15pm, live on TG4).

Tiernan O’Halloran, who was today named on the PRO12 Dream Team of the Season, Tom Farrell, Cian Kelleher and Andrew Browne are the only players retained in the starting XV following the defeat to Scarlets six days ago.

Jack Carty and Kieran Marmion make up the half back pairing for the trip to Limerick while last week’s try scorer Craig Ronaldson is named in midfield with Farrell. Prop Conor Carey makes his return from long term injury in a new front row with Denis Buckley and Shane Delahunt.

In the back row, John Muldoon returns to captain the side and is joined by flankers Eoin McKeon and James Connolly.

Replacement prop JP Cooney will make his 50th appearance for the province if called upon from the bench tomorrow afternoon.

Commenting on the upcoming game, Pat Lam said:

“With this being our final game before the European play off, there is no question that we need an improved performance in Limerick tomorrow. With quite a few changes from last weekend, it’s an opportunity for those guys selected to drive that improvement.

“Winning only once in 29 years in Thomond Park emphasises the challenge we face tomorrow.  With the way Munster are playing as a team this season, there is no doubt that challenge has got even tougher.  

“At the end of the day it’s a derby game with a lot on the line for both teams and we’re really looking forward to it.”

Connacht team to face Munster

Saturday, May 6th, kick off 5.15pm, Thomond Park

(Connacht caps in brackets)

15        Tiernan O’Halloran (126)
14        Danie Poolman (84)
13        Tom Farrell (8)
12        Craig Ronaldson (66)
11        Cian Kelleher (12)
10        Jack Carty (79)
9          Kieran Marmion (119)

1           Denis Buckley (117)
2           Shane Delahunt (27)
3           Conor Carey (10)
4           Quinn Roux (56)
5           Andrew Browne (154)
6           Eoin McKeon (106)
7           James Connolly (22)
8           John Muldoon (301) (captain)

Replacements:

16        Dave Heffernan (83)
17        JP Cooney (49)
18        Finlay Bealham (81)
19        Sean O’Brien (38)
20        Naulia Dawai (11)
21        John Cooney (38)
22        Marnitz Boshoff (3)
23        Darragh Leader (52)

Injured/unavailable: Tom McCartney, Ronan Loughney, Ultan Dillane, Nepia Fox-Matamua, Steve Crosbie, Bundee Aki, Peter Robb, Stacey Ili, Matt Healy, Niyi Adeolokun, Josh Rowland.

MUNSTER v CONNACHT
Saturday 6th May
At Thomond Park, 5.15pm.
Live on TG4

Referee: David Wilkinson (IRFU, 51st competition game)

Did you know?

  • Connacht have won three of their last five fixtures with Munster, but did slip up 9-16 in Galway in round 12.
  • Last season Connacht won at Thomond Park for the first time since 1986.
  • Connacht have made the European Champions Cup Play-offs but their only win in the last five rounds of the Guinness PRO12 was at Edinburgh on 7 April.
  • Munster have secured a home Semi-Final for only the second time in the last seven seasons but if they are to overhaul Leinster to become top seeds they will need a win in this game and hope that their rivals trip up.
  • The Munstermen have won their last five Guinness PRO12 encounters, whilst their only defeat since round 6 was at home to Scarlets on 24 February.

 

Overall Guinness PRO12 head to head record:

Played 29, Munster won 24, Connacht won 4 and 1 game drawn.

 

MUNSTER v CONNACHT

Saturday 6th May

At Thomond Park, 5.15pm.
Live on TG4
Referee: David Wilkinson (IRFU, 51st competition game)

Assistant Referees:  TBC

Citing Commissioner:  Wayne Sheridan (IRFU)

TMO: TBC

 

HEAD TO HEAD – RECENT GUINNESS PRO12 MEETINGS
Date Venue M C Munster scorers Connacht scorers
Sat 19 Apr 14 Sportsground 32 23 Andrew Conway(T) Paddy Butler(T) Denis Hurley(T) Ian Keatley(3C/2P) Gerhard van den Heever(T) Matt Healy(T) Danie Poolman(T) Eoin McKeon(T) Dan Parks(C) Miah Nikora(2P)
Thu 1 Jan 15 Sportsground 16 24 Peter O’Mahony(T) Ian Keatley(C/3P) Kieran Marmion(T) Darragh Leader(2C) Aly Muldowney(T) Miah Nikora(P) Craig Ronaldson(T/C)
Sat 28 Mar 15 Thomond Park 42 20 Duncan Casey(T) Andrew Smith(T) Keith Earls(T) JJ Hanrahan(3C) Billy Holland(T) Denis Hurley(T) Ian Keatley(3C) Simon Zebo(T) Jack Carty(2P) Shane O’Leary(T) Miah Nikora(T/2C)
Sat 28 Nov 15 Thomond Park 12 18 Niall Scannell(T) Ian Keatley(C) Penalty Try(T) Tiernan O’Halloran(T) Bundee Aki(T) Craig Ronaldson(C/2P)
Sat 16 Apr 16 Sportsground 14 35 Johnny Holland(2C) Mike Sherry(T) Simon Zebo(T) Finlay Bealham(T) Shane O’Leary(3C/3P) Niyi Adeolokun(2T) Penalty Try(T)
Sat 31 Dec 16 Sportsground 16 9 Rhys Marshall(T) Ian Keatley(C/D/2P) Jack Carty(3P)

 

 

COMPARISON Munster Connacht
Last 3 PRO12 results: 8 Apr – Glasgow (H) W 10-7 7 Apr – Edinburgh (A) W 22-19
  15 Apr – Ulster (H) W 22-20 15 Apr – Leinster (H) L 24-37
  29 Apr – Treviso (A) W 34-14 29 Apr – Scarlets (H) L 8-30
 
PRO12 2016/17 2nd – W18 D0 L3 – 81pts 8th – W9 D0 L12 – 44pts
Last 6 PRO12 form LwwWWw (22pts) WllwLL (10pts)
Top try scorer 9 – Ronan O’Mahony 6 – Niyi Adeolokun
Top points scorer 126 – Tyler Bleyendaal 70 – Jack Carty

 

 

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