Wednesday 12 December 2018

Ronaldson and Farrell propel Connacht to invaluable victory

Connacht  26 Ospreys 15

Connacht's Tom Farrell is tackled by Ospreys' James King. Photo: Sportsfile
Connacht's Tom Farrell is tackled by Ospreys' James King. Photo: Sportsfile

John Fallon

Connacht chalked up their seventh successive home win when they dug deep to score an invaluable victory over Conference A rivals Ospreys at the Sportsground.

Coach Kieran Keane will hope this win ignites a good spell in the PRO14 but he said there was still plenty of room for improvement.

Connacht's Tom Farrell on his way to scoring a try. Photo: Sportsfile
Connacht's Tom Farrell on his way to scoring a try. Photo: Sportsfile

"I'm thrilled with the result but it was a bit of a scratchy performance. We are a work in progress," said Keane. Craig Ronaldson, playing at out-half, and centre Tom Farrell were the key performers as they chalked up their fifth win.

Ronaldson's sixth successful kick of the night also ensured that Ospreys left empty-handed. It took Connacht time to make their superiority count but they went in leading by 13-5 thanks to a converted try just before the interval.

Two penalties from Ronaldson saw Connacht lead 6-5 approaching the break after Ospreys left winger Daf Howells got in for a try after 16 minutes.

Connacht, who lost Tiernan O'Halloran and Andrew Browne to early injuries, struck just before the break from flanker Eoghan Masterson.

Connacht's Craig Ronaldson kicks a penalty. Photo: Sportsfile
Connacht's Craig Ronaldson kicks a penalty. Photo: Sportsfile

Ronaldson increased the lead to 16-5 from a penalty after Ospreys winger Hanno Dirksen was binned for a late tackle on Connacnt scrum-half Caolan Blade.

Sam Davies hit a penalty for the visitors but Tom Farrell got in under the posts, with Ronaldson's conversion making it 23-8.

That should have sealed the win but replacement scrum-half Reuben Morgan-Williams hit back for a converted try to leave eight between them with seven minutes left on the clock before Ronaldson sealed the win.

Connacht - T O'Halloran (P Ahki 10); C Kelleher, E Griffin, T Farrell (J Carty 73), M Healy; C Ronaldson, C Blade (J Mitchell 71); D Coulson (P McCabe 60), T McCartney (S Delahunt 60), C Carey (D Robertson McCoy 59); A Browne (G Thornbury 16), J Cannon; E Masterson (J Connolly 75), N Dawai, J Muldoon.

Ospreys - D Evans; H Dirksen, K Fonotia, A Beck, D Howells (J Thomas 50); S Davies, T Habberfield (R Morgan-Williams 60), R Jones (N Smith 50), S Otten (S Parry 50), D Arhip; L Ashley (G Mercer 70), J King; O Cracknell, W Jones (S Cross 46), R McCusker.

Ref -S Berry (SARU).

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