Connacht gained a morale-boosting league win ahead of their start of their European campaign as Samoan flanker Ray Ofisa scored the only try against the Dragons.
MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, October 13
CONNACHT 16 NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS 9, The Sportsground (Att: 1,356)
Scorers: Connacht: Try: Ray Ofisa; Con: Mark McHugh; Pens: McHugh 2; Drop: McHugh
Dragons: Pens: Ceri Sweeney 3
The Dragons lost away from home for the first time in the Magners League as Connacht stopped the rot at the Sportsground.
Michael Bradley's men ended a barren run of three defeats and a draw at their Galway home with Samoan flanker Ofisa dotting down the all-important try just a minute shy of half-time.
The Dragons, who open their European Challenge Cup campaign at home to Bayonne next weekend, fought to the finish with a wind-assisted Ceri Sweeney banging over three second half penalties but Connacht held firm for some much-needed league points.
The westerners made an imposing start, building through the phases and taking a stranglehold on the game with number 10 Mark McHugh nosing them in front with his right boot.
The former Ireland international crept over a 13th-minute penalty before his half back partner Chris Keane's swift delivery allowed him drop a neat goal, four minutes later.
The Dragons, who have now lost on their last nine visits to Ireland since October 2004, drew breath and in rekindling the form that saw them win in Glasgow and at the Reivers recently, they were held up over the hosts' line three times in the opening half.
Twice off the base of scrums the Dragons pack went for the jugular, but Connacht held out. Welsh wide man Aled Brew was also wrapped up by Paul Warwick as he powered towards the line.
Connacht's stout defence paid off when McHugh swung over a 36th-minute penalty and three minutes later, a dazzling run from local favourite Daniel Riordan, which saw him cut by three defenders, put Ofisa in for his first try for the province.
McHugh's conversion gave Connacht a 16-0 lead at the interval, but with a wind advantage to come, Paul Turner's men were still in the hunt.
23 minutes after the resumption, Sweeney had pared the difference down to a converted try as he landed three out of three kicks, the most impressive of which was lofted over from 45 metres out.
McHugh was stifled by the elements when he saw a penalty chance tail away to the left, yet Connacht's defence was simply too good - pack powerhouses Andrew Farley and John Muldoon never shirked their responsibilities - as Bradley's side tuned up nicely for the Challenge Cup visit of Harlequins next Friday.
Connacht: Daniel Riordan; Matt Mostyn, Paul Warwick, Gavin Williams, Darren Yapp; Mark McHugh (capt), Chris Keane; Ray Hogan, Adrian Flavin, Brett Sturgess, David Gannon, Andrew Farley, John Muldoon, Ray Ofisa, Colm Rigney.
Replacements used: Tom Tierney for Keane (57 mins), Brendan O'Connor for Ofisa (70), Michael Swift for Gannon (74). Not used: Conor Muldoon, Brett Wilkinson, Keith Matthews, Ted Robinson.
Dragons: Kevin Morgan; Richard Fussell, Nathan Brew, Ashley Smith, Aled Brew; Ceri Sweeney, Gareth Cooper; Adam Black, Ben Daly, Jamie Corsi, Ian Gough, Peter Sidoli, Colin Charvis, Jamie Ringer, Nic Fitisemanu.
Replacements used: Michael Owen for Ringer (38 mins), Lee Harrison for Corsi (half-time), Kieran Crawford for Daly (51), Luke Charteris for Sidoli (52), Mike Hercus for Smith (57). Not used: Paul Emerick, Alex Walker.
Referee: Andrew Macpherson (Scotland)