Ronaldson and Farrell propel Connacht to invaluable victory
Connacht 26 Ospreys 15
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.
"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.
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).
Who is your sportstar of the year?
Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.
Prizes include, a trip to Old Trafford to watch Man United take on Liverpool in the Premier League, tickets to Ireland's home games in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.