Speculation continues on future of Connacht's Kieran Marmion following victory over Cardiff Blues
Connacht 36 Cardiff Blues 31
It has emerged that Connacht face a battle from Wales to hold on to Irish scrum-half Kieran Marmion with today’s opponents Cardiff Blues believed to be just one of a number of clubs chasing the highly regarded 23-year old.
Marmion, capped four times off the bench and who narrowly missed out on Joe Schmidt’s World Cup squad, is out of contract at the end of the season.
Marmion grew up in Brecon in Wales and while Leinster are also understood to be targeting him to fill the gap that will be ultimately left by Isaac Boss and Eoin Reddan, Cardiff, who have former Connacht backs coach Billy Millward in their management, are believed to be very keen.
Appropriately, Marmion produced an impressive display against the Blues yesterday at the Sportsground and having played 83 games in three seasons, was hauled ashore before the hour mark.
He got Connacht back in the game when he sniped over for a try after 10 minutes after Aled Summerhill had intercepted a loose pass from hooker Tom McCartney to get the Welsh side off the mark three minutes earlier.
Marmion created the second try when his grubber forced winger Richard Smith into touch and Connacht got the drive on for flanker Nepia Fox-Matamua to get over.
It was the third game in a row that the new signing from Auckland Blues scored and winger Danie Poolman also maintained his try-a-game run when he scored after 27 minutes after good work by Marmion, Bundee Aki and Tiernan O’Halloran.
That put Connacht 19-7 in front and they should have pushed on in their quest for only their second win in a dozen games against Cardidff, but they took their foot off the pedal and the Blues cut the gap to just two points by the break thanks to a try from Josh Turnbull and the boot of Patchell.
Cardiff hit the front nine minutes after the restart when full-back Dan Fish hacked ahead three times before touching down, with Patchell’s conversion making it 24-19.
It was the wake-up call Connacht needed. Tiernan O’Halloran got them level when he collected Jack Carty’s kick to score a bonus point try after 58 minutes and they wrapped it up six minutes later when Aly Muldowney before Sam Hobbs salvaged a couple of bonus points for Cardiff with their fourth try in the final play.
Scorers- Connacht: Tries: K Marmion, N Fox-Matamua, D Poolman, T O’Halloran, A Muldowney. Cons: J Carty (4). Pen: Carty.
Cardiff Blues: Tries: A Summerhill, J Turnbull, D Fish, S Hobbs. Cons: R Patchell (3), G Davies. Pen: Patchell.
Connacht: T O'Halloran; D Poolman (F Carr 64), R Parata (C Ronadlson 78), B Aki, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion (J Cooney 56); D Buckley (C O’Donnell 80), T McCartney (D Heffernan 72), F Bealham (JP Cooney 80); Q Roux (A Muldowney 52), A Browne (G Naoupu 80); J Muldoon, N Fox-Matamua, E McKeon.
Cardiff Blues: D Fish (G Davies 60), A Summerhill (G Smith 20), T Isaacs, G Evans, R Smith, R Patchell, T Knoyle (L Jones 72); S Hobbs, K Dacey (M Rees 72), C Mitchell, J Hoeata (J Down 64), L Reed, J Navidi, E Jenkins (M Vosawai 75), J Turnbull.
Referee: N Hennessy (WRU)