Throwback Thursday: Connacht give Muldoon perfect send-off

Bradley West
07 November 2019

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Leinster’s glorious unbeaten start to the Guinness PRO14 season faces perhaps its biggest test in the form of Irish rivals Connacht on Friday evening.

With just one defeat between them all campaign, the two provincial clubs have kicked things off in style.

Leo Cullen’s Leinster, with five wins out of five and 24 points, are the cream of the Guinness PRO14 crop so far having only dropped a single point to sit top of Conference A.

The defending champions have shown they can win both in style and in more difficult, drawn out, cagey encounters but their opponents on Friday have not fared so bad either.

Andy Friend’s men sit second in Conference B on 19 points and have only lost one game all season, to Scarlets on the opening day.

After an impressive 20-10 win at Ospreys last week, Connacht are now four unbeaten and their recent record against Leinster bares impressive viewing too – they have won three of their last five games between the two sides in Galway.

The most recent occurrence was Connacht’s famous 47-10 victory at the Sportsground in John Muldoon’s last game with the province in April 2018.

QUICK START

The two sides went into the Round 21 fixture 18 months ago on polar opposite trajectories.

Cullen’s side were sitting pretty at the top of Conference B and already assured of top spot, and a home play-off semi-final place.

Connacht however, led by Kieran Keane, were languishing down the lower end of Conference A and went into the contest on the back of a run of five consecutive defeats.

The visitors though, having made a huge number of changes following their Champions Cup semi-final triumph over Scarlets, were caught off guard by a Connacht team determined to send Muldoon out on a high.

The home side opened the scoring early when Shane Delahunt found Niyi Adeolokun to dot down after a lightning break in midfield.

Leinster put heaps of pressure on in their attempts to get back into the game but Tiernan O’Halloran and Kieran Marmion both added scores to take a commanding 18-point lead into the break.

DOMINANCE CONTINUES

Connacht started the second half as they ended the first with a clinical attack straight from the off, stripping Leinster of the ball and breaking through Thomas Farrell before Delahunt registered an incredible off-load to set up Adeolokun for his second try.

The hosts continued to heap on the misery as they then scored arguably the best try of the match as Jack Carty put through a delightful chip for O’Halloran, who then put Marmion in under the posts.

It took until the 55th minute for Leinster to reach double figures on the scoreboard after they finally scored their opening try through Barry Daly as he ran in from the half way line, and Joey Carbery added the extras.

That was not to be the beginning of a comeback though as Bundee Aki added a sixth score for Connacht before Muldoon added a fairy tale ending to proceedings.

The back row man marked his 327th and final game for Connacht by crossing the whitewash for the game’s final try before he then converted his own score late on to the delight of the crowd.


Cardiff City Stadium will play host to the 2020 Guinness PRO14 Final on June 20 as one of the most exciting days in the club rugby calendar comes to Wales!

General sale tickets are available from http://bit.ly/PRO14Cardiff2020 and prices start at just £13 for concessions and £26 for adults (subject to booking fees), that’s a 15% early bird discount. Family ticket (2 adults / 2 children) prices begin at £64 and fans are encouraged to buy early to get the best value tickets.

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