Click here for photos from Connacht’s Celtic League win against Ulster at the Sportsground on Saturday – the result ended the westerners’ nine-game losing streak in the competition.
Pictured above: Connacht captain Andrew Farley grabs a lineout take ahead of returning Ulster lock Rowan Frost, who was earning his first inclusion in the northerners’ line-up since his suspension for a drugs-related offence.
Connacht coach Michael Bradley said of his side’s first league win since September: “It was a brilliant result. Hopefully it can be a turning point for us in the league.
“It was a continuation of the form we showed in the win against Worcester. We played very well against the wind in the first half, and our tactical awareness and leadership were both strong.
“The score in the first half (12-7 thanks to Matt Lacey’s try) was a huge bonus, and if we can maintain that level of performance, we will be very happy.”
Ulster’s Roger Wilson is tackled by his opposite number Colm Rigney at the Sportsground.
Tommy Bowe tries to fend off the attentions of Connacht prop Ray Hogan. Bowe failed in his bid to become one of the only players to have tallied five career tries in the league against a single opponent. Mike Mullins (v Caerphilly) and Derrick Lee (v Leinster) managed the feat previously. Bowe’s run of four tries in consecutive games against Connacht began when he made his senior Ulster debut against the westerners in April 2004.
Ulster’s Wallaby lock Justin Harrison carries forwards.
Ulster coach Mark McCall said after his side’s third successive defeat: “We didn’t play well enough. We reckoned we needed a 15-point lead at half-time, and instead we were only five up. When they scored soon after the restart, with us playing into the wind, it meant we were always going to be chasing the game.
“We made mistakes for two of their three tries, and Connacht thoroughly deserved their win. Connacht made much better use of the breeze.”
Connacht number 8 Colm Rigney is tackled by Ulster flanker Neil Best. Rigney was sin-binned for a ruck offence with two minutes of normal time remaining, but it mattered little in the end as Connacht held onto their ten point lead.
Ulster centre Andrew Trimble looks on dejectedly in the Galway rain.
Ulster’s Paul Steinmetz is tracked by Connacht fly-half David Slemen, who scored a try and kicked two conversions and a penalty in his side’s second win of the league campaign.
Prop Stephen Knoop leads a Connacht drive under press from Neil Best, as Ulster captain Simon Best (right) watches on.
**All photos by Andrew Paton of Inpho Photography**