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Madigan leads the way as Ulster beat Connacht to extend Pro14 winning run

The out-half kicked 22 points as Dan McFarland’s side won 32-19 at the Sportsgrounds.

Ian Madigan kicks a penalty.
Ian Madigan kicks a penalty.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Connacht 19

Ulster 32

John Fallon reports from the Sportsgrounds

ULSTER BOUNCED BACK from their two Heineken Champions Cup losses to extend their winning start to the PRO14 to nine games when they came from behind to thwart Connacht at the Sportsground.

Ian Madigan led the way for Dan McFarland’s side with eight kicks from nine in a 22-points haul to secure the win in an impressive second-half display.

Connacht, with 77% possession and 86% territory, dominated the opening half with the wind but had to be content with an interval lead of 14-9.

Ulster struggled to get their hands on the ball but Ian Madigan landed three penalties, two of them in the opening eleven minutes to lead 6-0, to keep them in touch.

A dominant Connacht scrum – which forced three penalties and eventually a yellow card for Ulster loosehead Kyle McCall in an onslaught which was set in motion by a superb jinking run down the left by Matt Healy – provided the platform for the opening try which Jack Carty finished in the right corner and converted after 22 minutes.

Madigan restored Ulster’s lead with his third penalty in the next play but Connacht deservedly hit the front again when winger John Porch finished in the right corner and Carty converted 12 minutes from the break.

Ulster, with the wind increasing, got back in front ten minutes after the restart when they were rewarded for going to the corner with a penalty and after scrum-half Alby Mathewson slipped through a couple of tackles, the finish was supplied by Jordi Murphy, with Madigan converting for 16-14.

They turned the screw after that and punished some more poor defence with Greg Jones supplying the final pass for Nick Timoney to burst through and score, with Madigan’s fifth kick of the night making it 23-14 to Ulster.

nick-timoney-scores-his-sides-second-try-despite-conor-oliver Nick Timoney scores his try. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Connacht hit back and got a lifeline when good pressure saw Daly get through James Hume’s tackle to score after 62 minutes.

Carty was unable to convert from the left, leaving four between them but Madigan pushed that out to seven when he landed a good penalty from 45 metres with 15 minutes left.

He missed his first kick of the night from 25 metres on the right wing eight minutes from time but then three minutes later sealed the issue with a kick from almost the same spot and added a sixth penalty a minute from time.

 

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Scorers 

 Connacht

Tries: J Carty, J Porch, T Daly.

Conversions: J Carty (2/3)

Ulster 

Tries: J Murphy, N Timoney

Conversions: I Madigan 2/2

Penalties: I Madigan 6/7

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran (Colm de Buitlear ’32, Sean O’Brien ‘51)); John Porch, Sammy Arnold, Tom Daly, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Caolin Blade (Kieran Marmion ‘66); Denis Buckley (Jordan Duggan ‘50), Shane Delahunt (Dave Heffernan ‘57), Finlay Bealham (Dominic Robertson-McCoy ‘55); Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux (Gavin Thornbury ‘1-10, blood; 55); Eoghan Masterson, Conor Oliver, Jarrad Butler. 

Ulster: Michael Lowry; Craig Gilroy (Matt Faddes ‘66), James Hume, Stewart Moore (Ben Moxham ‘62), Ethan McIlroy (Andrew Warwick ’20-30); Ian Madigan, Alby Mathewson (David Shanahan ‘79); Kyle McCall (Warwick ’30), John Andrew (Bradley Roberts ‘67), Tom O’Toole (Marty Moore ’53,); Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell (David O’Connor ‘70); Greg Jones (Matty Rea ‘20), Jordi Murphy, Nick Timoney.

Referee: Sean Gallagher (IRFU)

About the author:

John Fallon

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