Thursday 14 December 2017

Connacht show grit to see off Edinburgh

Connacht 14 Edinburgh 9

Tiernan O’Halloran breaks free to score a try for Connacht in their win against Edinburgh last night
Tiernan O’Halloran breaks free to score a try for Connacht in their win against Edinburgh last night

Declan Rooney

There was little of the flowing rugby that we have become accustomed to at the Sportsground on display last night, but the one piece of magic from the home side sealed their fifth win from six games this season.

A stunning score in the 11th minute finished off by Tiernan O'Halloran turned out to be the game's only try, as the boot of Jack Carty edged Connacht past Edinburgh and back into second place in the Pro12 standings.

Connacht came into last night's game with ten tries more to their name than their visitors, and after Carty got them up and running with a ninth-minute penalty, O'Halloran ran in Connacht's 20th try of the season two minutes later.

It was a well executed first-phase move off the top of a lineout on halfway that the try came from, and the inside pass from Carty to Matt Healy in midfield sent O'Halloran clear for his second try of the season.

Carty was unlucky to see his touchline conversion hit the post, but the visitors soon got off the mark when John Muldoon was penalised for entering the side of a maul and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne slotted the kick from the left.

Connacht would have been dismayed not to have added to their tally before the break, and two minutes before the interval the hosts were penalised for not scrummaging straight and from just inside the Connacht half young full-back Blair Kinghorn made it 8-6 with a well-struck penalty.

Four minutes after the restart Connacht extended their lead once more when Roddy Grant infringed and Carty kicked the simple three points, but ten minutes later Edinburgh were back within two points thanks to Hidalgo-Clyne's second penalty which made it 11-9.

But straight from the restart Connacht forced another penalty, which Carty converted to wrap up the five-point win.

Scorers - Connacht: T O'Halloran try; J Carty 3 pens. Edinburgh: S Hidalgo-Clyne 2 pens, B Kinghorn pen.

Connacht: T O'Halloran (N Adeolokun 72); D Leader, B Aki, C Ronaldson, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion (I Porter 70); D Buckley (F Bealham 74), T McCartney (D Heffernan 72), R Ah You (N White 48); A Muldowney (Q Roux 48) (Muldowney 75, blood), A Browne; J Muldoon, N Fox-Matamua, E Masterson (E McKeon 63).

Edinburgh: B Kinghorn (N McLennan h-t); D Hoyland, C Dean, S Beard, W Helu; P Burleigh (D Fife 67), S Hidalgo-Clyne; R Sutherland (A Dell 67), N Cochrane (G Turner 67), J Andress (S Berghan 67); A Bresler (A Toolis 63), F McKenzie; M Coman, R Grant, N Manu (C Du Preez 48).

Referee: L Hodges (WRU)

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