Pictured above: Montpellier flanker Fulgence Ouedraogo has a firm grip on Connacht's David Slemen as the westerners try to add to their first half tally of three tries at the Sportsground.
Out-half Slemen was making his first appearance of season for Connacht, and converted tries from Adrian Flavin and Daniel Riordan. He has been impressing for Galwegians in the AIB League of late.
The concentration is etched all over Conor O'Loughlin's face as he takes on Montpellier winger Aliinu'u Koko in a one-on-one. The match marked the Buccaneers scrum half's first European start since he lined out against Narbonne in September 2004.
Connacht coach Michael Bradley remarked after Friday's encounter: "The challenge now will be to go to France next week and secure a win and see where that takes us."
Connacht full-back Daniel Riordan has the legs on Fulgence Ouedraogo as he races in for his second try in as many Challenge Cup games. The 22-year-old Annaghdown star has deferred his college course for a year to concentrate on his rugby and the move is playing off.
That is three tries in his last five games for the former Under-21 international, whose runs from deep regularly thrill the Sportsground crowd. Previewing Friday's clash, he said: "It's brilliant to be involved in a game like this. It is a combination of everything. The Friday night, floodlights, you can feel the excitement when you come out in front of a full Sportsground.
"It makes everything so much better and you look forward to the kick-off. There is a great buzz. The people seem to love it and I suppose we try to put on a bit of a show."
Connacht's South African-born prop Brett Wilkinson tries to hand off Julien Thomas of Montpellier. In his first season as a professional player, Wilkinson has taken to it like a duck to water, playing in 11 of Connacht's 13 games to date in the Magners League and Challenge Cup.
Connacht flanker Michael Swift keeps hold of possession, under pressure from Montpellier's number 7 Fulgence Ouedraogo. Michael Bradley's squad rotation policy saw Swift get in for his first Challenge Cup appearance of the season. The London-born back rower must be itching for a try - his last one came against Grenoble in January of last year.
The sizeable figure of Montpellier prop Nicolas Descamps wraps up Connacht's Paul Warwick in a tackle. Last January the Australian out-half/centre had an eventful time at Stade Sabathe, where the westerners meet Montpellier next Friday in the return game.
Back then in the south of France, Warwick collected 14 points (1 conversion, 3 penalties and 1 drop goal) in the province's 19-13 win, having been sin-binned in the first half.
Connacht out-half David Slemen has Francois Trinh Duc and Fulgence Ouedraogo for company as he tries to set the hosts on the attack. It remains to be seen if Slemen did enough to retain his place in the westerners' side for next Friday's trip to Montpellier - last season he was the out-half for the 'home' game against the French side, with Paul Warwick in place for the away tie.
**All photos by Sportsfile and Inpho Photography**