Wednesday 21 March 2018

Gallagher and O'Donnell's Connacht appearances

Connacht’s Cillian Gallagher and Darren O’Shea of Munster contest a lineout
Connacht’s Cillian Gallagher and Darren O’Shea of Munster contest a lineout

Although the result didn't go in favour of the men from the West in the PRO14 clash with Munster, there was good news from a Sligo perspective.

Cillian Gallagher played the entire game while former Sligo RFC teammate Conan O'Donnell, also from Sligo, was introduced for the Province in the second half in Thomond Park.

It was a very strong Munster performance, with Johan van Graan's side running out winners on a comprehensive scoreline of 39-13.

Connacht had impressed against Ulster and Leinster over the last fortnight, but with Kieran Keane opting to rest three of their key internationals, the Westerners looked below par.

Trailing 10-6 at the break, they were in the contest but blown away as Munster's big-game players stepped up to the mark.

Ian Keatley controlled the tempo, while their electric back three wreaked havoc with Andrew Conway, in particular, providing the spark every time he got ball in hand.

Conway set Munster on their way to the bonus-point win as he added an early second-half try after Darren O'Shea had claimed the first. Conor Murray ran the show for the home side and he helped himself to two tries after Keith Earls had scored in the corner.

Connacht were looking ragged and Munster went for the kill. Keatley was again central to their third try as he linked well with Scannell in midfield who put Conway through a gaping hole. Conway then turned provider as he put it on a plate for Earls to score in the corner.

Keatley was wide with the conversion but it was going from bad to worse for Keane's side as Quinn Roux was sent to the sin-bin for a dangerous tip tackle on Earls, with the crowd howling for a red.

Scorers - Munster: Murray 2 tries, O'Shea, Conway, Earls, 1 try each, Keatley 2 pens & 4 cons. Connacht: McCartney 1 try, Carty 2 pens, Ronaldson con.

Munster: S Zebo (D Sweetnam 61); A Conway, C Farrell (B Johnston 65), R Scannell, K Earls; I Keatley, C Murray (D Williams 70); D Kilcoyne (J Cronin 52), R Marshall (M Sherry 61), J Ryan (S Archer 52); J Kleyn (R Copeland 66), D O'Shea; J O'Donoghue, C Oliver, CJ Stander (capt).

Connacht: T O'Halloran; N Adeolokun (D Leader 61), E Griffin, P Ahki, M Healy; J Carty (C Ronaldson 66), C Blade (J Mitchell 68); P McCabe (C O'Donnell 75), T McCartney, C Carey (F Bealham 57); Q Roux, J Cannon (G Thornbury h-t); C Gallagher, J Butler, J Muldoon (capt) (P Boyle 57).

Sligo Champion