17 Jun, 19:25
Ireland pulled clear of hosts Canada with four tries in the closing half hour as they earned a 40-14 victory at the BMO Stadium on Saturday night. Check out some photos from the Toronto tussle.
His three penalties from as many opportunities had them 9-3 in front in a contest where they had spent long periods defending their line.
Connacht started well, retaining possession and stretching the Italians' defence at every opportunity. Their early endeavour was rewarded with a fourth minute penalty from Parks but that proved to be a rare venture in Zebre territory.
For the remainder of the half most of the play belonged to the home side as they used their solid lineout platform to build pressure.
Quintin Geldenhuys and Mauro Bergamasco carried with great results but basic errors proved costly as four visits to the Connacht 22 yielded just one Daniel Halangahu penalty.
The Zebre full-back missed two other kicks at goal during the first half and after 17 minutes, Connacht turned a brief foray into home territory into three more points from the boot of Parks to restore their lead.
A key turning point came right on the stroke of half-time when the vastly experienced Bergamasco was penalised for a challenge on Tiernan O'Halloran that was somewhat harshly deemed to be a 'tip tackle'.
Referee Leighton Hodges sin-binned the 93-times capped Italian international and Parks kicked a brilliant penalty from the halfway line for a six-point buffer at the break.
Connacht dominated the first 20 minutes of the second half but failed to score during the sin-bin period despite some incisive back-line play from the likes of impressive Heineken Cup debutant Robbie Henshaw, O'Halloran and Fetu'u Vainikolo.
Handling errors and poor decision-making underlined a tension in their play as they tried to add to their only previous win in the tournament - a hard-fought 9-8 defeat of Harlequins in the Galway wind and rain last January.
On the hour mark, Eric Elwood's men earned a penalty from a five-metre scrum and opted to stretch the lead to two scores through the boot of Parks.
That settled nerves and barely two minutes later a turnover in their own 22, forced by the excellent Denis Buckley, led to the game's first try.
Kieran Marmion hacked downfield, Mike McCarthy's chase was tremendous and he forced a penalty from Luciano Orquera. The quick-thinking Muldoon took a quick tap and went in from ten metres out, scoring under the posts with Parks converting.
That score should have settled Connacht but the final 20 minutes were error strewn - Zebre made 19 basic errors in the game compared to Connacht's nine - and it was the home side who finished the scoring with a late try from replacement flanker Filippo Ferranini.
Speaking afterwards, man-of-the-match Muldoon praised the influence of Parks as he reflected on a solid start to the province's Heineken Cup run.
"We obviously expected a tough game. Zebre are a good side, getting better every day and their first win will come soon," he said of the new Italian club.
"Dan did very well today. He's got 66 caps for Scotland it showed out there. He's a good talker and he organises us on the field."
|Zebre Score Card|
|Connacht Rugby Score Card|