PRO12: Connacht battle back to take win over Munster

Guinness PRO12 League
Guinness PRO12 League


Connacht claimed the prized scalp of provincial rivals Munster after fighting back from 13 points down to clinch a memorable 24-16 New Year’s Day victory in gusty Galway.

The westerners’ first win over Munster since December 2008 - and only their second in the last 42 meetings - saw them extend their unbeaten home record this season to eight games.

Ian Keatley, the former Connacht fly-half, used his knowledge of the famed Sportsground wind to help Munster lead this hard-edged Guinness Pro12 derby 13-0 by the quarter hour mark.

He converted Peter O’Mahony’s 10th-minute try and kicked two penalties in very difficult conditions, before a brilliantly engineered try by Kieran Marmion - started and converted by Craig Ronaldson - got Connacht back in touch.

Keatley’s third successful penalty made it 16-7 to the visitors at half-time, only for wind-backed Connacht to respond with 17 unanswered points in the third quarter.

Well-worked tries from fly-half Ronaldson and lock Aly Muldowney were both converted by Darragh Leader, with Ronaldson’s replacement Miah Nikora landing a 55th-minute penalty.

Although they threw everything at Connacht in a gripping climax, Munster endured a scoreless second half thanks to some defiant, disciplined defending from the hosts.