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It’s agony for Connacht as Leinster snatch the spoils

Connacht 22

Leinster 24

JOHN FALLON AT THE SPORTSGROUND

CONNACHT scrum-half Caolin Blade said they have only themselves to blame after Leinster caught them at the death in a gripping derby match at the Sportsground on Saturday night

Ciaran Frawley hardly touched the ball all night at full-back but he still popped up in the 81st minute to score a dramatic winner for Leinster and break Connacht hearts.

Blade, who skippered the side after captain Jack Carty was not selected in the matchday 23, produced a man-of-the-match display but that was poor consolation for the Monivea native.

“We’re extremely disappointed. Too many times in that second-half we just stood off. We let them play their game, they are a top-quality side but we’re extremely disappointed.

“There was a few mistakes on our side and we’ve no one to blame but ourselves. We’ve two huge games coming up in the Champions Cup so we’ll have to move on,” said Blade.

Frawley, selected at No.15 despite his stellar display at out half last week against Munster, was almost a spectator as this URC clash that went one way and then the other but when Leinster’s need was the greatest, he ran a perfect line to finish a flowing move with a try in the right corner which not only won the match, but also netted a bonus point.

His skipper on the night Scott Penny hailed Frawley for producing the moment of magic when it was most required. “Credit to him. He has worked hard all summer and it’s great he can cover so many positions. These inter-pros are always tough and they always go down to the last few minutes but it’s something we have been working on, those final ten minutes and thankfully it worked there.”

It was a tough outcome for Connacht who came from 11 points down after 64 minutes to hit the front, but in the end they fell to a seventh successive loss at the Sportsground to Leinster and also suffered their first home defeat of 2023.

Pictured: Connacht captain Caolin Blade is tackled by Leinster’s Scott Penny and James Culhane during Saturday URC clash at the Sportsground. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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