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Connacht run four tries past the Kings in front of All-Ireland winning hurlers

It was a great sporting occasion at the Sportsground.

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Connacht 32

Southern Kings 10

John Fallon reporting at the Sportsground

THE GALWAY HURLERS were given a rousing reception when they paraded the Liam MacCarthy Cup at half-time in this Pro14 clash, and Connacht took a leaf out of their book to get their season up and running with a first win.

Connacht crossed for three tries in the opening half to lead 24-5 against the South African newcomers and all they needed to do after the restart was wrap up the bonus point.

The Kings’ discipline was poor throughout and a yellow card to winger Sibusiso Sithole for a tip-tackle on Jack Carty was exploited by Connacht with Tom Farrell getting in for the opening try.

Carty converted and landed a penalty but the Kings hit back eight minutes from the break with a try from centre Berton Klaasen after going wide when half a dozen surges from a lineout went nowhere.

But the Connacht response was top class and they struck for two tries before the break with Eoghan Masterson getting over after a good break by Farrell.

Then on the stroke of half-time Ultan Dillan bulldozed over after Connacht had turtned a Kings’ scrum five metres from their own line to lead 24-5 at the interval.

The Galway hurling panel with Connacht mascot Eddie The Eagle and the Liam McCarthy Cup The Galway hurling team soaking up the atmosphere at the Sportsground. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

It was a much closer affair in the second-half and while Carty extended the lead with a 48th minute penalty, Connacht didn’t secure the bonus point until ten minutes from time when Darragh Leader did superbly to beat full-back Masixole Banda and score in the right corner.

John Muldoon became the second Connacht player to be binned — Finlay Bealham also spent ten minutes out — in the closing stages and that helped the Kings grab a consolation try from replacement prop Luvuyo Pupuma in the closing stages.

Connacht scorers: Tries: Tom Farrell, Eoghan Masterson, Ultan Dillane, Darragh Leader
Conversions: Jack Carty [3 from 3], Steve Crosbie [0 from 1]
Pensalties: Jack Carty [2 from 2]Southern Kings:
Tries: Berton Klaasen, L Pupuma
Conversions: Kurt Coleman [0 from 1], Oliver Zono [0 from 1]

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran; Darragh Leader (Conor Carey 55’-62’), Tom Farrell (Eoin Griffin, 64min), Bundee Aki, Matt Healy; Jack Carty (Steve Crosbie 53’), Kieran Marmion (Caolin Blade 58’); Denis Buckley (Denis Coulson, 50’), Tom McCartney (Dave Heffernan 53’), Finlay Bealham; Ultan Dillane (Quinn Roux 55’), James Cannon; Sean O’Brien (Eoghan Masterson 31’), Jarrad Butler, John Muldoon

Southern Kings: Masixole Banda; Yaw Penxe, Berton Klaasen, Luzuko Vulindlu (Jacques Nel 64’), Sibusiso Sithole; Kurt Coleman (Oliver Zono 53’), Godlen Masimla (Rudi van Rooyen 53’); Schalk Ferreira, Michael Willemse (captain) (Stephan Coetzee 74’), Rossouw de Klerk (Entienne Swanepoe 42’) (Luvuyo Pupuma 48’); Jurie van Vuuren, Dries van Schalkwyk; Khay Majola (Siyabulela Mdaka 62’), Victor Sekekete (Bobby de Wee 68’), Andisa Ntsila;

Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU)

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