Thursday 22 June 2017

Connacht fight back to snatch a win in Cardiff

Cardiff Blues 13-19 Connacht

Connacht's Niyi Adeolokun competes with Rhun Williams of Cardiff Blues for control of the ball Photo: Gareth Everett/Sportsfile
Connacht's Niyi Adeolokun competes with Rhun Williams of Cardiff Blues for control of the ball Photo: Gareth Everett/Sportsfile

James Candy

Connacht produced a late show to get back to winning ways against Cardiff Blues.

The scores were locked at 13-13 heading into the final two minutes after Nick Williams burrowed over for the Blues and Matt Healy crossed out wide for Connacht.

Connacht's Tom McCartney breaks the tackle of Gareth Anscombei of Cardiff Blues Photo: Gareth Everett/Sportsfile
Connacht's Tom McCartney breaks the tackle of Gareth Anscombei of Cardiff Blues Photo: Gareth Everett/Sportsfile

The boot of Gareth Anscombe had moved the Blues 13-0 clear in the first-half, but John Cooney reined in the lead by racking up eight points of his own.

Jack Carty missed a late drop-goal, but Tiernan O'Halloran showed him how it should be done moments later to snatch victory.

Craig Ronaldson's penalty in the final act then sealed a deserved victory for Pat Lam's side.

Anscombe fired the Blues in front with a penalty after Connacht's John Cooney had missed from the same range with his first attempt.

'Connacht then spurned two golden opportunities to snatch victory when Niyi Adeolokun (pictured) and Healy knocked on when just metres from the line' Photo: Gareth Everett/Sportsfile
'Connacht then spurned two golden opportunities to snatch victory when Niyi Adeolokun (pictured) and Healy knocked on when just metres from the line' Photo: Gareth Everett/Sportsfile

The New Zealand-born Wales international stretched his side's lead to six points before the Blues finally got the breakthrough just before the half-hour mark.

Willis Halaholo left a trail of defenders in his wake as he jinked 40 metres downfield, before Williams burrowed over from close range. Anscombe landed the conversion to make it 13-0.

However, Healy pulled the Irish side back into the contest just before half-time.

Hooker Tom McCartney broke free in midfield and almost got over the line himself, before Carty found Healy in space for an easy run-in.

Cooney then landed a pair of penalties to level the scores at 13-13 with 17 minutes remaining.

However, Connacht then spurned two golden opportunities to snatch victory when Niyi Adeolokun and Healy knocked on when just metres from the line.

The chance to earn a win looked to have gone when Carty missed a late drop-goal, but O'Halloran came up with the goods before Ronaldson's long-range penalty put the gloss on the triumph.

Connacht- T O'Halloran; N Adeolokun, S Ili (T Farrell), C Ronaldson, M Healy; J Carty, J Cooney (C Blade); D Buckley (R Loughney), T McCartney (D Heffernan), JP Cooney (F Bealham), Q Roux, J Cannon, S O'Brien (N Dawai), J Heenan, J Muldoon (capt).

Cardiff Blues - M Morgan; B Scully, R Lee-Lo, W Halaholo, R Williams (T James); G Anscombe, L Williams (capt) (T Williams); R Gill (M Thomas), K Dacey (M Rees), A Peikrishvili (S Andrews), J Hoeata (S Davies), J Down, M Cook, J Navidi, N Williams (S Bennett).

Ref - Marius Mitrea

Irish Independent

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