Pictured above: Connacht winger Keith Matthews tries to break through the Montpellier defence at the Sportsground. The 24-year-old had a great European experience last season, scoring six tries in six games.
The former UL Bohemians clubman touched down twice in the 'home' game against Montpellier last January but was marshalled well by his opposite number, Aliinu'u Koko, on Friday night.
Andrew Farley, Connacht's captain for the night, leaps highest to take a lineout ball ahead of Montpellier flanker Fulgence Ouedraogo. The 26-year-old Farley qualified for Ireland last June and has been one of the best lineout operators in the country in recent seasons.
Scrum half Chris Keane, on as a second half replacement, tries to snipe through the Montpellier rearguard with ever-willing flanker Ray Ofisa in support. Keane could be pressed into action for Buccaneers on Saturday as they take on their arch rivals Galwegians (Crowley Park, kick-off 2.30pm) in AIB League Division One.
Mark McHugh, another of Connacht's second half replacements, has nowhere to go as the Montpellier defence, led by the game Fulgence Ouedraogo (left), block off his run. McHugh converted Gavin Williams' 61st-minute try to take his Challenge Cup points tally to 84 in 25 games.
Francois Trinh Duc's last-gasp tackle cannot stop Gavin Williams from getting in for Connacht's fourth try at the Sportsground. It was the New Zealand-born centre's first try in the Challenge Cup, and a vital one as it pulled Connacht a point closer to second-placed Bath in the Pool 4 standings.
Little Montpellier scrum half Julien Thomas, who was a World Championship winner with the French Under-21s last summer, tries valiantly to halt the run of Connacht's Brett Wilkinson. Making his first Challenge Cup start, the 18 stone-plus Wilkinson, who turned 23 last week, looked the part at loosehead and threw in a couple of notable carries. The South African prop is reportedly one of the keenest golfers in the Connacht squad.
Connacht had a plentiful supply of lineout ball with Andrew Farley (above) and his second row partner David Gannon lording it in the air in Galway. The Dublin-born Gannon has done well to secure first team rugby out west. He was earmarked for a great future after captaining Ireland to second at the 2004 IRB Under-21 World Championship. His second row cohort from back then, Shane O'Connor, is on the fringes of the Munster squad this season.
**All photos by Sportsfile and Inpho Photography**