Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Connacht sprung the surprise upset of the Magners League season so far as they heroically beat defending champions Leinster at the Galway Sportsgrounds on Sunday night. The loss for the champions may well dent their hopes of retaining the title, as they went down 19-18 to the courageous Connacht.
Fly half Ian Keatley, formerly of Leinster, kicked four penalties as well as the conversion of the lone Mike McCarthy try. The confidence gained was immense, particularly considering the recent mauling they received at the hands of the Cardiff Blues.
Five minutes into the second half the homeside came up with an inspired bit of play that began deep in their own half. Mike McCarthy was in support of the Sean Cronin offload, as he dived underneath the posts to complete a fantastic try.
As Connacht grabbed McCarthy in celebration, a scuffle broke out as Leo Cullen seemed to be the instigator, with an elbow on Keatley. Whether it was accidental or not, it led to try scorer McCarthy leading with his head into Wallaby Rocky Elsom. Elsom retaliated with a punch, and both players received yellow cards.
It was McCarthys second yellow, so he got a red, meaning his night was over seconds after his great try.
Jonathan Sexton pushed a late dropgoal attempt wide, as Connacht held on despite the numerical advantage, achieving their first win over Irish opposition since December 2005.