CONNACHT EAGLES' wait for their first win in the competition goes on, but they will take comfort from this bonus-point defeat in Wales.
The Westerners fought back from 14-3 down at half-time after conceding three early penalties – dispatched by Steffan Jones – and an Ollie Hodge try.
Tadhg Leader kept the pressure up by adding two further penalties to his first-half effort and giving his side hope.
Sub Jack Carty made it a two-point game with a penalty, but the young Connacht side wilted in the closing stages and Steffan Jones made the win safe for last year's finalists.
CROSS KEYS – G David; D Jones, L Andrews, L Ford, L Williams; S Jones, R James (capt); R Cornock, G Price, A Lott; D Hodge, O Hodge; T Lampard, S Matthews, A Powell.
CONNACHT EAGLES – J Loxton; M McCrea, T Leader, B Murphy, M Healy; J Carty, D Moore; R Sweeney, K O'Byrne, P Reilly; J Gardiner, D Gannon; D Heffernan, E Grace (capt), A Conneely. Reps: K Haupt, P Griffin, C Kindregan, TJ Anderson, M Walsh, F Gormley, S Toal-Lennon.