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Connacht Win, Ulster Draw.

Connacht Win, Ulster Draw.

Connacht scored seven tries in their 40-33 victory over Munster at the Sportsground on Friday while Ulster were denied victory when Glasgow’s Tommy Hayes kicked a late penalty

In the Sportsground yesterday (Friday) afternoon, Connacht were 40-33 winners over Munster in a game that was played in three periods while later that evening Ulster had victory snatched from their grasp when Glasgow out-half Tommy Hayes kicked a late penalty to level the game, 19 points apiece.

The exercise in Galway was probably of more benefit to Connacht coach Steph Nel than to his Munster counterpart Alan Gaffney because Nel had his entire squad available to him while Gaffney was meeting many of his players for the first. However, it was never less than a fully committed affair with Connacht showing enough to suggest that they will be a force in both Celtic League and Parker Pen Challenge Cup this season. Intent on going into the competitive season with the substantial scalp of a victory over Munster their belts, they took penalty kicks at goal when the opportunity presented unlike their opponents who kicked instead for position. James Norton gave the home side the lead with a smartly taken try after 16 minutes and Shane Moore’s penalty followed a Dominic Malone try that left Connacht 8-7 to the good at the first interval.

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Wayne Munn and Kevin O’Riordan swopped tries at the start of the second period before Connacht domination saw them race into a 30-14 lead and as the traffic on and off the field continued Munster scored twice (John Lacey and Clem Casey) to leave just four points separating the sides.

The Connacht response was swift, first Eoin Reddan and then Mark McHugh crossing for scores before Liam Brown scored to end the tryfest.

Up north, Ulster were given a very useful work-out by a Glasgow side who needed a late Tommy Hayes penalty to secure a share of the points. Out-half Hayes ended up scoring all his side’s points in a scrappy game that saw Ulster lead 14-13 at half time. Scott Young’s second try of the night just after the restart looked likely to give the home side victory but Hayes landed two further penalties to level the match.