Lam junior debuts for Eagles
Connacht Eagles 10 Cornish Pirates 23
Connacht Eagles lost their opening round of the British & Irish Cup against the Cornish Pirates in the Sportsground yesterday, but head coach Mossy Lawler praised his young side's efforts.
Despite fielding a strong team and handing first starts to Mitch Lam (son of Pat) and Luke Carty (Jack's brother), they finished second best. Eoin Griffin and Rory Parata also made their comeback from injury for the Eagles, while there was a first appearance for new signing James Cannon in the second-row.
The visitors opened the scoring with a try from Sam Simmonds after just five minutes, but Lam got the Eagles off the mark with a penalty in the 15th minute to narrow the gap.
Lam then made the break for Jordan Conroy's try in the 23rd minute, which Lam converted to give the home side a 10-5 lead.
Pirates' back-row Dan Lee then scored a 28th-minute try to ensure the sides were level at the break.
Laurence May kicked two second-half penalties for the away side and replacement Jake Parker crossed for their third try of the match, which May converted in the 73rd minute to seal the win.
"I'm very proud of our boys. Our effort was 100 per cent, but we just couldn't break them in the end," said Lawler, who lost out in his first game in charge.
Scorers - Connacht Eagles: J Conroy try; M Lam con, pen. Cornish Pirates: S Simmonds, D Lee, J Parker tries; L May con, 2 pens.
Connacht Eagles - L Carty; J Conroy, R Parata, E Griffin (C McKeon 37-39, blood & 41), E O'Keeffe (J Murphy 76); M Lam, S Kerins (C Lowndes 66); J East, J Dinneen (J Pim 66), S Meunargia; J Cannon, D Qualter; M Kelly, J Connolly (S Masterson 74), S McVeigh (C Gleeson 39-49) (P O'Toole 58) .
Cornish Pirates - M Evans; J Arnott (W Cargill 74), T Hendrickson, A Dancer (B Bartlett 76), A O'Meara; L May, M Pope (A Day 74); P Andrew (J Andrew 66), T Channon (J Innard 57), T Gendall; C Morgan, E Pascoe (J Parker 57); M Bolwell (J Stevens 74), S Simmonds, D Lee.
Ref - Ben Blain (RFU)