Michael Bradley's Connacht side went into the record books on Saturday as they ran in ten tries for the first time in the province's history for a 62-17 Challenge Cup rout of Catania.
EUROPEAN CHALLENGE CUP: POOL 5: Saturday, October 22
Connacht 62 Amatori Catania 17, The Sportsground (Att: 600)
Scorers: Connacht: Tries: Keith Matthews 3, Darren Yapp 2, Connor McPhillips 2, Matt Mostyn, Colm Rigney, Paul Warwick; Cons: Warwick 3, Chris Keane 3
Catania: Benjamin de Jager 2, John Grasso; Con: Barry Irving
The victory, a great boost for the westerners ahead of Friday's trip to Montpellier, ended a run of six straight defeats and the romp was always on the cards against the Sicilians, who had shipped more than a half-century of points against Overmach Parma and Treviso in recent weeks in the Super 10.
UL Bohs centre Keith Matthews put in an excellent display in a game that marked his European debut. He scored three tries in all to mark himself out as Connacht's leading try scorer for the season.
Fleet-footed winger Conor McPhillips now has four tries for the season having added two to his tally on Saturday . His second on 35 minutes rapped up the bonus point for Bradley's charges and opened the floodgates against a Catania side that looked completely out of their dept at times.
Credit to the visitors, they did manage to breach the Connacht cover twice in the first half through Aussie scrum half John Grasso and captain Benjamin de Jager, who also added a second in the closing stages of the second half.
Paul Warwick opened the scoring for Connacht as he eased through the visiting defence. Catania responded with a break away score from Grasso which served as a warning to the host to buck up their ideas.
Connacht settled again and Yapp, who was trasnferred from the left wing to midfield as a late change with the injured John Hearty, scored twice before again Catania responded nearing half-time from de Jager.
McPhillips responded for Connacht and secured the bonus before Keith Matthews got his first and Connacht's fifth on half time.
Conor O'Loughlin replaced Warwick at half-time and the versatile Chris Keane moved to fly half as Connacht were in cruise control.
Tries from Matt Mostyn, Colm Rigney and two more from Matthews and a final one from McPhillips sealed the win with de Jager scoring for Catania in reply. It failed to take the shine off a great afternoon for Connacht rugby, although dwindling attendances in Galway are a concern.
CONNACHT: Matt Mostyn; Ted Robinson, Darren Yapp, Keith Matthews, Conor McPhillips; Paul Warwick, Chris Keane; Ray Hogan, John Fogarty, Stephen Knoop, Christian Short, Andrew Farley (capt), John Muldoon, Matt Lacey, Colm Rigney.
Replacements used: Conor O'Loughlin for Warwick (half-time), David Gannon for Short (45 mins), Chris Venter for Merrigan (46), Dan McFarland for Hogan, Adrian Clarke for Knoop, Brendan O'Connor for Lacey (all 53), Daniel Riordan for Robinson (54).
CATANIA: Francesco Faia Pappalardo; Emanuel Viassolo, Andrea Romagnoli, Mauro Estomba, Benjamin de Jager (capt); Barry Irving, John Grasso; Andre De Bonis, Galo Alvarez, Sebastian Levaggi, Mario Privitera, Juan Pablo Lagarrigue, Massimiliano Vinti, Diego Vidal, Alehandro Krancz.
Replacements used: Marco Geraci for De Bonis (half-time), Massimiliano Gravgna for Pappalardo, Nicolas Wargon for Vinti (both 49 mins), Salvatore Carbone for Krancz. Not used: Federico Conderelli, Juan Cruz Viassolo, Mariano Lorenzetti.
Referee: Sean Davey (England)