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McHugh On Cue For Connacht

McHugh On Cue For Connacht

Mark McHugh’s right boot came to Connacht’s rescue again on Friday as his late penalty strike saw the westerners nab a 22-22 draw with Edinburgh.

…Connacht hooker John Fogarty is tackled by Edinburgh’s Scott Murray and Allister Hogg…

Mark McHugh’s right boot came to Connacht’s rescue again on Friday as his late penalty strike saw the westerners nab a 22-22 draw with Edinburgh.

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MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, September 22

CONNACHT 22 EDINBURGH GUNNERS 22, The Sportsground (Att: 1,065)

Scorers: Connacht: Try: Matt Mostyn; Con: Mark McHugh; Pens: McHugh 5

Edinburgh: Try: Chris Paterson; Con: Paterson; Pens: Paterson 4, Duncan Hodge

Seven minutes into time added on,blonde-topped out-half McHugh landed his sixth kick from seven attempts to deny Edinburgh their first consecutive hat trick of wins over Irish opponents.

New Gunners coach Lynn Howells’ first game in charge was going well up until the final quarter.

The Scottish side had turned their 16-10 interval lead into a 19-13 advantage by the hour mark, with Chris Paterson bagging all 19 points, but some over zealous refereeing from Wales’ James Jones turned the final 20 minutes into a lottery.

Jones sin-binned five players – three from Edinburgh and two home players – in the closing half hour as his no-nonsense attitude ruined a game in which there was little malice.

Two early penalties from Paterson sandwiched an eighth-minute try from Connacht winger Matt Mostyn, who did well to collect a powerful pass from McHugh after an initial fumble.

Connacht’s 7-6 lead lasted more than 20 minutes as the visitors struggled to turn their territorial dominance into points. Yet the prominent Paterson grabbed a ten-point salvo just before the break to edge his side back in front.

The Scottish winger kicked his third penalty and then weaved his way in under the posts for a converted try. Connacht replied in injury-time through McHugh.

The kickers swapped further penalties as the second half opened with Jones keen to put his stamp on proceedings. He produced his first yellow card on 59 minutes when Connacht lock David Gannon walked for a ruck offence.

Incredibly Gunners flanker Ross Rennie and locks Steven Turnbull and Scott Murray, as well as the hosts’ number 7 Matt Lacey, all followed suit amid farcical scenes.

The visitors were whittled down to 12 players at one stage and Connacht took their cue, creeping back up on the Scots with McHugh booting over two penalties to a single effort from replacement Duncan Hodge.

Connacht looked to have missed the boat when five phases of flowing rugby failed to net them the winning try, but they got the next best thing when the Gunners were pinged for not releasing in the tackle and the nerveless McHugh walloped over from 47 metres out.

Best for Connacht on the night were McHugh, Riordan, who did little wrong on the counter attack, pack heavyweights John Muldoon and Colm Rigney both loomed large in the loose, and both Darren Yapp and new signing Ray Ofisa impressed as second half replacements.

Connacht: Daniel Riordan; Matt Mostyn, John Hearty, Gavin Williams, Keith Matthews; Mark McHugh, Chris Keane; Brett Wilkinson, John Fogarty (capt), Brett Sturgess, David Gannon, Andrew Farley, John Muldoon, Matt Lacey, Colm Rigney.

Replacements used: Michael Diffley for Sturgess (33 mins), Darren Yapp for Hearty (half-time), Ray Ofisa for Rigney (58), Tom Tierney for Keane (66). Not used:

Edinburgh: Hugo Southwell; Chris Paterson (capt), Ben Cairns, Rob Dewey, Simon Webster; Phil Godman, Mike Blair; Allan Jacobsen, Dougie Hall, Alasdair Dickinson, Matt Mustchin, Scott Murray, Alasdair Strokosch, Ross Rennie, Allister Hogg.

Replacements used: Steven Turnbull for Mustchin (20 mins), Marcus Di Rollo for Southwell (50), Duncan Hodge for Godman (67). Not used: Andrew Kelly, Dave Hewett, David Callam, Greig Laidlaw.

Referee: James Jones (Wales)
Touch Judges: Olan Trevor, Seamus Flannery (both Ireland)