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Match Tracker: Connacht 16 Leinster 31

Match Tracker: Connacht 16 Leinster 31

Two injury-time tries from Ireland internationals Shane Horgan and Denis Hickie topped off a bonus point win for Leinster at the Sportsground.

…Brian O’Driscoll, in his seasonal bow for Leinster, takes on Connacht’s Gavin Williams at the Sportsground…

Two injury-time tries from Ireland internationals Shane Horgan and Denis Hickie topped off a bonus point win for Leinster at the Sportsground.

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MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, September 29

CONNACHT 16 LEINSTER 31, The Sportsground (Att: 3,678)

Scorers: Connacht: Try: Darren Yapp; Con: Mark McHugh; Pens: McHugh 2, Daniel Riordan

Leinster: Tries: Trevor Hogan, Guy Easterby, Shane Horgan, Denis Hickie; Con: Felipe Contepomi; Pen: Contepomi 2; Drop: Gordon D’Arcy

Full-Time – Connacht 16 Leinster 31

80+5 mins: A flattering end for Leinster as McHugh is again at fault. His midfield pass is intercepted by Denis Hickie and the Dubliner races in under the posts to chalk up the bonus point. Contepomi converts – Connacht 16 Leinster 31

80+2 mins: Shane Horgan looks to have won it for Leinster with a well-worked try in the right corner, with the visitors having numbers out wide. Contepomi misses the extras – Connacht 16 Leinster 24

73 mins: Could Gordon D’Arcy be the man to decide this game? The Ireland centre, who was included on the Leinster bench, is on and could have struck the knockout blow for Leinster. The Wexford native landed a 25-metre drop goal to push the visitors three points clear – Connacht 16 Leinster 19

67 mins: Connacht have managed to level the game at 16 points apiece. Returning Ireland lock Malcolm O’Kelly is pinged for killing the ball as the westerners press for a try and he receives the game’s third yellow card. What is it about the Sportsground and yellow cards? There were five sin-binnings last week in the Connacht v Edinburgh game! With McHugh off, young Annaghdown man Riordan steps up to stroke the penalty between the posts – Connacht 16 Leinster 16

65 mins: Both McHugh and former Connacht prop Ronan McCormack, who has been sprung from the visitors’ bench, are sent to the sin bin by referee Peter Fitzgibbon for their involvement in some scuffling

60 mins: Connacht have switched hookers with Adrian Flavin coming on for John Fogarty

57 mins: It’s tit for tat in the kicking stakes as McHugh flights over his second penalty in the space of six minutes after Luke Fitzgerald was penalised. As evidence of the bruising nature of the game, Shane Horgan is now wearing a bandage around his head – Connacht 13 Leinster 16

55 mins: McHugh undoes some of his good work by coming in from an offside position and Contepomi lands only his second successful kick of the night – Connacht 10 Leinster 16

Second Half: 52 mins: McHugh boots over a penalty to follow up on some good early pressure from the Connacht pack – Connacht 10 Leinster 13

Half-Time – Connacht 7 Leinster 13

38 mins: Connacht get themselves right back into the game with a well-worked try. From an attack down the right side, young full-back Daniel Riordan comes up into the line and sends experienced centre Darren Yapp in under the posts. Much credit goes to Matt Mostyn for starting the move. McHugh converts – Connacht 7 Leinster 13

32 mins: It’s try number two for the visitors. O’Driscoll was the creator with a beautiful behind-the-back pass to the supporting Jamie Heaslip who offloaded for Easterby to scoot in to the left of the posts. An off-colour Contepomi misses the conversion – Connacht 0 Leinster 13

30 mins: Apart from a couple of Brian O’Driscoll and Shane Horgan breaks, the Leinster attack has been well contained so far. Their forwards force a penalty and Contepomi regains his kicking poise to land it – Connacht 0 Leinster 8

25 mins: Leinster have had to reshuffle their backline – they lost Australian scrum half Chris Whitaker to a shoulder injury after only eight minutes. Ireland’s Guy Easterby has been brought on

20 mins: The first half hits its midpoint and still Leinster hold a five-point advantage. Little else in the way of further scoring chances for either side, but Contepomi has missed a second shot at the posts – a penalty kick from distance

2 mins: That’s Hogan’s second try in the space of six days for his adopted province – the Nenagh man only managed one in 57 appearances for Munster

1 minute: Disastrous start for Connacht – as Mark McHugh attempts to clear, he has his kick charged down by Trevor Hogan and the former Munster lock, whose brother Ray was a late call-up in the Connacht side for tighthead prop Brett Sturgess, gobbles up the ball to touch down in the left corner. Contepomi misses the conversion, slightly lessening the blow for the stunned westerners – Connacht 0 Leinster 5

First Half: Kick-Off: Felipe Contepomi starts the game, kicking off in perfect conditions for running rugby

Team News: Connacht coach Michael Bradley has made one change to the side that drew with Edinburgh last week for the meeting with Leinster.

The experienced Darren Yapp comes in at outside centre, replacing the injured John Hearty.

Meanwhile, the Leinster selection sees Brian O’Driscoll return as captain for his first competititve start of the season alongside his Ireland colleagues Shane Horgan, who he partners at centre, and Girvan Dempsey.

Luke Fitzgerald, 19, has retained his place on the wing, while both Gordon D’Arcy and Malcolm O’Kelly have been named on a strong-looking bench, which also includes ex-Connacht duo Ronan McCormack and Bernard Jackman.

Connacht: Daniel Riordan; Matt Mostyn, Darren Yapp, Gavin Williams, Conor McPhillips; Mark McHugh, Chris Keane; Brett Wilkinson, John Fogarty (capt), Ray Hogan, David Gannon, Andrew Farley, John Muldoon, Matt Lacey, Colm Rigney.

Replacements: Adrian Flavin, Michael Diffley, Michael Swift, Ray Ofisa, Tom Tierney, Paul Warwick, Ted Robinson.

Leinster: Girvan Dempsey; Luke Fitzgerald, Brian O’Driscoll (capt), Shane Horgan, Denis Hickie; Felipe Contepomi, Chris Whitaker; Reggie Corrigan, Harry Vermaas, Will Green, Trevor Hogan, Owen Finegan, Stephen Keogh, Keith Gleeson, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: Ronan McCormack, Bernard Jackman, Malcolm O’Kelly, Niall Ronan, Guy Easterby, Christian Warner, Gordon D’Arcy.

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)
Touch Judges: George Clancy, Leo Colgan (both Ireland)