O’Halloran drops Connacht back into mix for the top six

The in-form Connacht full back Tiernan O'Halloran whose late drop goal turned the game in his team's favour against Cardiff in the Guinness Pro12 on Sunday.
The in-form Connacht full back Tiernan O'Halloran whose late drop goal turned the game in his team's favour against Cardiff in the Guinness Pro12 on Sunday.

Cardiff 13

Connacht  19

SHEER desire, determination and a fair amount of desperation got Connacht over the line in Sunday’s lunchtime clash at a half-empty Cardiff Arms Park as the PRO12 campaign resumed.

The closing ten minutes saw the westerners completely dominate their hosts and their persistence eventually paid off with Tiernan O’Halloran kicking an unlikely and precious drop goal before Craig Ronaldson rounded off the contest with an insurance long-range penalty.

Considering the glorious moments that have been witnessed in the past 12 months, it’s hard to get overtly enthused about an away win in Cardiff but in the context of the long term Connacht rugby project, this result could turn out to be an important milestone.

Before the game on Sunday, news was breaking that Johno Gibbes – a man heavily linked with the vacant 2017 head coaching position in the west but one who had ruled himself out only weeks ago – had taken up the head coach role in Ulster as second in command to Les Kiss. Connacht rugby needs a break right now.

Just in time perhaps, this result could be the catalyst for a change in the narrative. The impressive travelling army of 50 or so followers were certainly in good spirits at the end as the team acknowledged them. They had gone through the mill in this contest and figured out some issues along the way.

By the half hour mark, the Blues were in total control off the back of a Nick Williams try and the boot of Gareht Anscombe. A rare penalty miss from John Cooney had underlined a poor start for Connacht where they had possession but very little significant penetration.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.