Connacht’s Jekyll and Hyde season continued on Friday as Glasgow eased to a fully-merited victory in a high scoring and scrappy contest at the Sportsground.
MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, April 13
CONNACHT 23 GLASGOW WARRIORS 40, The Sportsground (Att: 1,331)
Scorers: Connacht: Tries: Paul Warwick, Conor McPhillips, Penalty try; Con: Paul Warwick; Pens: Paul Warwick 2
Glasgow Warriors: Tries: John Barclay, Rory Lamont, Hefin O’Hare, Kevin Tkachuk; Cons: Dan Parks 4; Pens: Dan Parks 3; Drop: Dan Parks
Following last week’s spirited draw against a strong Cardiff side, hopes were high out west that Connacht could finish their home run of games this season on a positive note. However, the visitors scored early, built up a 23-8 half-time lead and kept a lid on a second half revival by the home side to secure their fourth victory in five outings.
Glasgow led as early as the second-minute thanks to a brilliant try from flanker John Barclay. After some poor tackling from Connacht and good play by hooker Fergus Thompson, who made the initial break, number eight John Beatie carried before offloading for Barclay to touch down. Dan Parks converted a try that illustrated Glasgow’s versatility.
As was the case six days earlier, Connacht responded well to the early set back and Paul Warwick scored what could well be the try of the season from a Connacht viewpoint. He marked in his own 22, took a quick tap and beat three tacklers before kicking ahead and winning the race against three opponents to score a sublime try. Perhaps exhaustion was a factor in his missed touchline conversion but it was a forgivable miss.
Glasgow’s response was calm and measured. They moved the ball better through the hands, and their forwards made positive yards consistently giving the outstanding Parks oceans of room to create and cause problems for Connacht. The number 10 added two penalties before kicking a superb drop goal under pressure to stretch the lead to 16-5 on the half-hour mark.
Things were going from bad to worse for Connacht at this stage and Rory Lamount glided through some non-existent tackles, minutes later, to stretch the lead to 18 after Parks added the extras. A late Warwick penalty narrowed the gap slightly at the break but the omens were not good.
Connacht had their best spell of the match just after half-time and wisely chose to kick at goal three minutes in, from a penalty on the 22, which narrowed the gap further and built momentum. Within a minute, they had their second try after Lamount fumbled on the 22 and from a Matt Lacey kick through, winger Conor McPhillips dotted down to leave the score at 23-16.
Glasgow responded well with tries from replacement Hefin O’Hare, who finished off a superb break, and prop Keith Tkachuk. The latter’s effort secured Glasgow’s bonus point as the Connacht defence continued to struggle.
Yellow cards for John Muldoon and Brett Sturgess of Connacht, along with Tkachuk and Justin Va’a from Glasgow, followed in a disjointed closing quarter, while Connacht were awarded a penalty try with ten minutes remaining and Parks replied with a penalty to seal victory. That period just about summed up the game – high on incident, low on quality. Connacht could not have envisaged a more deflating finish to their home campaign.
TIME LINE: 2 minutes – Glasgow try: John Barclay – 0-5; conversion: Dan Parks – 0-7; 6 mins – Connacht try: Paul Warwick – 5-7; conversion: missed by Paul Warwick – 5-7; 16 mins – Glasgow penalty: Dan Parks – 5-10; 22 mins – Glasgow penalty: Dan Parks – 5-13; 26 mins – Glasgow drop goal: Dan Parks – 5-16; 34 mins – Glasgow try: Rory Lamont – 5-21; conversion: Dan Parks – 5-23; 40+4 mins – Connacht penalty: Paul Warwick – 8-23; Half-time – Connacht 8 Glasgow 23; 43 mins – Connacht penalty: Paul Warwick – 11-23; 45 mins – Connacht try: Conor McPhillips – 16-23; conversion: missed by Paul Warwick – 16-23; 55 mins – Glasgow try: Hefin O’Hare – 16-28; conversion: Dan Parks – 16-30; 70 mins – Glasgow try: Kevin Tkachuk – 16-35; conversion: Dan Parks – 16-37; 74 mins – Connacht try: Penalty try – 21-37; conversion: Paul Warwick – 23-37; 78 mins – Connacht penalty: Dan Parks – 23-40; Full-time – Connacht 23 Glasgow 40
Connacht: Daniel Riordan; Darren Yapp, Gavin Duffy, John Hearty, Conor McPhillips; Paul Warwick, Chris Keane; Brett Wilkinson, Adrian Flavin, Ray Hogan, Michael Swift, Andrew Farley (capt), John Muldoon, Ray Ofisa, Colm Rigney.
Replacements used: Matt Lacey for Ofisa (32 mins), Brett Sturgess for Wilkinson (half-time), John Fogarty for Flavin, Aidan Wynne for Hearty (both 54), David Slemen for Keane (57). Not used: Ryan Strudwick, Peter Durcan.
Glasgow: Francisco Leonelli; Rory Lamont, Graeme Morrison, Scott Barrow, Thom Evans; Dan Parks, Graeme Beveridge; Justin Va’a, Fergus Thomson, Moray Low, Andy Newman, Alastair Kellock (capt), Steve Swindall, John Barclay, John Beattie.
Replacements used: Kevin Tkachuk for Low, Hefin O’Hare for Leonelli (both half-time), Scott Lawson for Thomson (57 mins), Andrew Wilson for Swindall (78), Donnie Macfadyen for Beattie (79). Not used: James Eddie, Colin Gregor.
Sin Bin: Muldoon, Sturgess (Connacht); Tkachuk, Va’a (Glasgow)
Referee: Neil Ballard (Wales)