Sport Rugby

Monday 18 December 2017

McCarthy shines to banish Ireland woes

Treviso 9, Connacht 11Ian Bransfield, at Stadio Monigo

Connacht may not have been able to bring the good weather back with them, but Eric Elwood's men will undoubtedly have returned home from Treviso with a glowing feeling.

The western province don't win too many league fixtures outside Galway (just one in the last three seasons combined), but, undaunted by the 35C heat, Connacht claimed a highly impressive victory.

Prop Rodney Ah You (22) scored the only try of the game whilst 21-year-old out-half Matthew Jarvis kicked two penalties to steer his side home.

Both were playing their first competitive fixtures for Connacht, and they played assuredly, as did a number of other new recruits.

Cross-code convert Henry Fa'afili showed up well at inside centre, while former Ulster wing Mark McCrea completed a formidable back-three unit alongside new captain Gavin Duffy and Tiernan O'Halloran.

Of the old guard, Michael Swift was another who hit the ground running, but it was the display of Mike McCarthy that really caught the eye.

The Ireland lock admitted that he was crestfallen when he missed out on World Cup selection, but he showed no lingering signs of self-pity as he turned in a Man of the Match performance.

"I was gutted to miss out on the World Cup," said McCarthy, "but I just want to play well for Connacht now and hopefully I might get another opportunity for Ireland down the line.

"It's a massive season for us, obviously, being in the Heineken Cup, and to win in Italy was a great start."

Treviso -- L Nitoglia (B de Jager 69); M Sepe, K Burton, L Morisi, B Williams; W de Gaal, A Chillon; M Rizzo (P di Santo 50), F Sbaraglini (D Vidal 50), A Allori (M Muccignat 50); A Pavanello (S Picone 71), V Bernabo' (B Vermaak 50); M Filippucci, F Minto, M Vosawai (G Padro 65).

Connacht -- G Duffy (capt); M McCrea, E Griffin, H Fa'afili, T O'Halloran; M Jarvis (N O'Connor 60), F Murphy; R Loughney (D Buckely 61), A Flavin (E Reynecke 47), R Ah You (D Rogers 47); M Swift, M McCarthy; J Muldoon (TJ Anderson 72), R Ofisa (J O'Connor 61), G Naoupu.

Ref -- D Phillips (IRFU).

Irish Independent

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