Tuesday 25 July 2017

Fired-up Connacht spoil Bradley return

Connacht 26 Edinburgh 13

John Fallon

A fired-up Connacht secured their first Pro12 win since September as they ensured former coach Michael Bradley made an unsuccessful return to the Sportsground.

The recent improvement shown by Eric Elwood's men continued as they recovered from a slow start to gain revenge on an Edinburgh side who turned them over earlier this season at Murrayfield.

Niall O'Connor edged the hosts in front after 21 minutes with a penalty. Then the dominant Connacht pack won ball off an Edinburgh scrum on the visitors' '22' and from the turnover Fetu Vainokolo got over for his first try for the province.

O'Connor added the conversion into the wind to make it 10-0 at the interval.

Connacht looked set for an easy win when O'Connor extended their lead to 13-0 with a 48th-minute penalty, but Edinburgh hit back with Tim Visser finishing off a good move for his 15th try of the season.

After O'Connor kicked another penalty, Edinburgh again responded with Chris Paterson crossing after 55 minutes.

Phil Godman reduced the deficit to 16-13 with a 61st-minute penalty.

But Connacht seized the initiative and with John Muldoon and Michael Swift superb, they sealed the win as Matthew Jarvis landed a penalty 12 minutes from time and Mike McCarthy crashed over late on. Jarvis added the extras.

Afterwards, Elwood urged Connacht to finish the campaign on a high. "This win will give momentum," he said. "We head to Scarlets next week with some confidence now after this win."

Connacht -- G Duffy; F Vainikolo, K Tonetti, H Fa'afili (E Griffin, 53), T O'Halloran; N O'Connor (M Jarvis, 56), F Murphy; D Buckley (B Wilkinson, 54), A Flavin (E Reynecke, 61), R Loughney (S Maguire, 76); M Swift, M McCarthy; J Muldoon, E Grace (R Ofisa, 50), G Naoupu.

Edinburgh -- C Paterson (D Fife, 73); T Brown, J Thompson, M Scott, T Visser; G Hunter (P Godman, 40), C Leck; K Traynor, A Kelly, J Gilding (U Gamboa, 60); G Gilchrist, S Cox (E Lozada, 71); S McInally, R Grant, N Talei.

ReF -- C Damasco (Italy).

Irish Independent

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