O'Connor helps Ulster to clip Ospreys' wings
Ulster 27 Ospreys 26
Out-half Niall O'Connor was the hero as Ulster pulled off a sweet-tasting victory at the start of their Magners League campaign claiming the bragging rights over defending champions Ospreys at Ravenhill last night.
O'Connor kicked 17 points and it was his unnerving 48-metre, angled penalty at the death that brought the booty home to Ulster, who won the opening game of the campaign for the first time in three seasons
O'Connor and his opposite number Dan Biggar traded penalties in a tight opening quarter, but in the second Ulster profited from a wayward throw-in that bounced off Jerry Collins and Stephen Ferris crossed for a try.
O'Connor converted and four minutes later scored a penalty from 50 metres to open up a 13-3 lead.
Richard Fussell for the Ospreys and Darren Cave for UIster both crossed the whitewash before O'Connor's penalty helped the Irish side to a 18-16 half-time lead.
In the second half O'Connor sent over his third penalty, but a minute later Biggar hacked through to touchdown and convert.
O'Connor and Biggar traded penalties as the action began to hot up and the Ulster No 10 coolly slotted over what was the winning penalty eight minutes from time.
Ulster -- A D'Arcy; T Seymour, D Cave, I Whitten (P Wallace20), D McIlwaine; N O'Connor, P Marshall; B Young (T Court 40), R Best (N Brady 49), capt, D Fitzpatrick (P McAllister 65), T Barker, J Muller, S Ferris (R Diack 65), W Faloon, P Wannenburg.
Ospreys -- G Owen (L Byrne 65); N Walker, S Parker, A Bishop, R Fussell (S Williams 57); D Biggar, J Nutbrown (R Webb 78); R Bevington (D Jones 78), M Davies (H Bennett 60), C Griffths (P James 60), I Gough, I Evans, J Collins, capt, M Holah (B Lewis 75), J Thomas.
Ref -- P Allen (SRU).