Celtic League: Saturday, January 22 Connacht 8 Cardiff Blues 18, The Sportsground Scorers: Connacht: Try: James Downey; Pen: Paul Warwick Cardiff: Tries: Dean Dewdney 2; Con: Nick Macleod; Pens: Macleod 2
It was a tale of two wingers for second-from-bottom Cardiff in Galway, as they lost left winger Jonny Vaughton to a first-half yellow card but had the match-winner in two-try hero Dean Dewdney.
The 30-year-old clinched the Blues' second win in the space of six days, following on from a demoralising eight-game losing streak - with a 69th-minute chip through-and-collect try under the Connacht posts.
It was a disappointing afternoon on the whole for Michael Bradley's men, as James Downey's first-minute try offered them their only chink of light.
Hoping for their fifth win in six Galway outings - Connacht scored off a neat Paul Warwick chip through after only 65 seconds.
The Australian's kick was collected by onrushing wing Conor McPhillips, whose quick step around Craig Morgan put ex-Leinster starlet Downey galloping over to the right of the posts.
Controversy then reigned as Cardiff flanker Nathan Thomas was allowed to boot Warwick's conversion off its tee.
Scottish referee Malcolm Changleng had adjudged that 24-year-old Warwick had begun his run-up despite still being in a crouched position.
That seemed to disrupt Connacht, whose lineout misfired, as the Blues came more and more into the game.
Nick Macleod watched his fifth minute penalty slam off an upright but the Welsh were back level on 14 minutes as skipper Tom Shanklin's midfield break put Dewdney over in the right corner.
Vaughton's sin-binning for preventing a quick release seemed to turn the tie in the home side's favour, and Warwick obliged for an 8-5 break lead with his second attempt in added time.
Both kickers missed a series of penalty shots in the second half, with Macleod the guiltier with two.
But the 21-year-old did send over two on 55 and 73 minutes, sandwiching Dewdney's crucial second score, to earn Cardiff's first win on Irish soil since last March.
Bradley accepted his side were fairly beaten in losing out on a chance to leapfrog seventh-placed Ulster in the standings, but was already concerning himself with Friday's visit to The Borders - the first of Connacht's final six league games.
"We're very disappointed but we've not given up yet," declared the former Ireland scrum-half. "We'll keep fighting for every point because we've still got six games left to play.
(15) Matt Mostyn(14) Conor McPhillips(13) Darren Yapp(12) James Downey(11) Ted Robinson(10) Paul Warwick(9) Chris Keane(1) Ray Hogan(2) Bernard Jackman(3) Stephen Knoop(4) Christian Short(5) Andrew Farley (Capt)(6) John Muldoon(7) Matt Lacey(8) John O'Sullivan
Replacements used: Mark McHugh for Downey (28 mins), Michael Swift for Muldoon (44-ht), David Slemen for Robinson (52), John Fogarty, Pieter Myburgh and Dan McFarland for Jackman, Short and Hogan (all 63), Swift for Muldoon (74). Not used: Tom Tierney.
Yellow card: Jonny Vaughton (Blues) (44 mins)HT: Connacht 8 Cardiff 5; Attendance: 1,750Referee: Malcolm Changleng (Scotland)