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Craig Watson/INPHO Bill Mata carries into Shane Delahunt.
# Northern Exposure
O'Halloran double not nearly enough as Edinburgh power to win over Connacht
Jack Carty was one of three Connacht players sin-binned as Edinburgh forced a five-try win.

Edinburgh 41

Connacht 14

A FIGHTBACK EITHER side of half-time still left Connacht a long way short of their Pro14 Conference B rivals and they leave Edinburgh on the wrong side of a five-two try count with two penalty tries ending all their hopes.

The game finished with a flurry of yellow cards, four in all, that summed up the frustration for the Irish side, who also lost Finlay Bealham to injury, as the game drifted away from them as they failed to take advantage of the second-half wind behind them.

The question had been was whether they could hang on in the first half when they were facing into the elements. And then capitalise when they had the wind and rain behind them in the second half.

finlay-bealham-is-stretchered-off Craig Watson / INPHO Bealham was stretched off. Craig Watson / INPHO / INPHO

Richard Cockerill’s side ensured they struggled for long stretches, two early penalties from home fly-half Simon Hickey gave the Scots a cushion and that gave the home side the confidence to cut loose.

A solo run from Matt Scott took him to the try line and though Jack Carty got back to force a knock on, the television replays showed a hand round Scott’s neck, costing Connacht a penalty try and a sin bin for Carty.

Before he got back on Simon Berghan, the Edinburgh prop, had been driven over from short range to ring up a 20-0 lead, but Carty’s return signalled the time for riposte from Connacht.

It took a few mauls and scrums but with time running out before the break, they finally got there with Tiernan O’Halloran, the fullback, joining the forwards to force his way over.

tiernan-ohalloran-after-scoring-a-try Craig Watson / INPHO O'Halloran turns back to halfway after scoring. Craig Watson / INPHO / INPHO

Andy Friend’s side took heart from the score, and they were back on the attack from the kick-off. O’Halloran on hand there again to grab the ball a yard out and dive over for his second score and bring his side within a converted try as the scoreboard read 20-14.

That was as good as it got, however, with prop Pierre Schoeman grounding the ball against the post for the third try and then securing the game when they got the ball wide to Duhan van der Merwe for the bonus-point score.

Connacht would end the match with 13 men as Eoghan Masterson and Conor Fitzgerald went to the sin-bin either side of a late penalty try, forced by the Conference B leaders marauding scrum.

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Tries: Penalty tries (24’, 78’), Simon Berghan (34’), Pierre Schoeman (57’), Duhan van Der Merwe (66’)
Conversions: Hickey (35’ 58’ 66’)
Penalties: Simon Hickey (7’, 18’)

Try: Tiernan O’Halloran (40+1, 47)
Conversions: Jack Carty 2.

Edinburgh: Damien Hoyland; Eroni Sau (sin bin: 71-end), Mark Bennett, Matt Scott (George Taylor, 30‘), Duhan van der Merwe; Simon Hickey (Jaco van der Walt, 72‘), Nic Groom (C) (Charlie Shiel, 68‘); Pierre Schoeman (Murray McCallum, 73‘), Mike Willemse (Cameron Fenton, 71‘), Simon Berghan (Dan Winning, 71‘), Stan South (Jamie Hodgson, 72‘), Lewis Carmichael, Nick Haining (John Barclay, 53‘), Luke Crosbie, Viliame Mata (N Haining, 72, sin bin: 75-end).

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun, Kyle Godwin, Peter Robb, John Porch; Jack Carty (sin bin: 24-34, Conor Fitzgerald, ‘55, sin bin: 79-end), Kieran Marmion (Caolin Blade, 55‘); Denis Buckley (Paddy McAllister, 41‘), Shane Delahunt (Jonny Murphy, 55‘), Finlay Bealham (Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 5‘), Niall Murray (Eoghan Masterson, 50‘, sin bin: 75-end), Joe Maksymiw, Paul Boyle (Eoin McKeon, 62‘), Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (C).

Referee: M Mitrea (Italy)

Attendance: 5,367

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