Euro giants Leinster goes down
PRO14 REPORT: A brace for Niyi Adeolokun and Kieran Marmion saw Connacht bulldoze Leinster on an emotional day.
It was John Muldoon's last game for Connacht after 327 appearances and he even got on the scoreboard with a conversion in the last five minutes to end his career at the Sportsground in style - a 47-10 victory.
Tiernan O'Halloran also featured on the scoreboard, along with Bundee Aki and Caolin Blade, with Barry Daly the only scorer for Leinster as they fell to their second successive defeat in the Guinness PRO14.
The hosts opened the scoring after Shane Delahunt made a break in midfield, and after some lightning fast hands the ball made its way out to Adeolokun, who shook off a tackle and dotted down.
Jack Carty converted before Joey Carbery got three points back for Leinster, then missed another to close the gap to one.
The visitors ramped up the pressure, with phase after phase of pick and goes edging them towards Connacht's try line, but the hosts got a breakaway try to ease the tension.
James Lowe flung a no-look pass in midfield but O'Halloran read it perfectly and intercepted to race away and put daylight between the teams, with Carty again adding the extras.
Connacht used the momentum gained from the try to score another, with Delahunt again making a break after picking and going straight through the middle.
Marmion was in support and after fending off two tackles he muscled his way over under the posts, with Carty again on hand to convert.
Leinster surged forward through Lowe in search of a score as the half drew to a close, but after Ross Byrne went for the corner instead of taking the points from a penalty, Connacht won the line-out and cleared their lines to go into the break with an 18-point lead.
The hosts continued their brilliant defence and clinical attack straight from the off in the second half, stripping Leinster of the ball then breaking through Thomas Farrell.
The ball went out to the wing where Delahunt drew his man and made an incredible off-load out the back as he fell, setting up Adeolokun for his second.
Connacht then scored arguably the best try of the match as Carty put through a delightful chip for O'Halloran, who jumped through one tackle then drew the last defender to put Marmion in under the posts.
Leinster finally responded as Daly intercepted a pass on the touchline, brushed off a tackle by Carty and ran in from the half way line, with Carbery adding the extras to take the visitors into double figures after 55 minutes.
Aki added a sixth for Connacht when he powered over in the right corner and Carty once more converted to restore the 30-point gap.
The hosts even had time for another score as replacement scrum-half Blade sold a great dummy 10 metres out to dive over under the posts.
This set up the moment of the match as No. 8 Muldoon stepped up and powered the conversion over to the roar of the crowd, sealing a great end to a memorable day for Connacht as they secure sixth place in Conference A with the victory.
Tries: Adeolokun 2, O'Halloran, Marmion 2, Aki, Blade
Cons: Carty 4, Ronaldson, Muldoon
Connacht: 15 Tiernan O'Halloran, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Tom Farrell, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 John Muldoon (captain), 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Eoin McKeon, 5 Quinn Roux, 4 Gavin Thornbury, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Shane Delahunt, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Peter McCabe, 18 Conor Carey, 19 Ultan Dillane, 20 Eoghan Masterson, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Craig Ronaldson, 23 Darragh Leader.
Leinster: Joey Carbery, 14 Barry Daly, 13 Tom Daly, 12 Noel Reid, 11 James Lowe, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Nick McCarthy, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Peadar Timmins, 6 Max Deegan, 5 Mick Kearney, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Andrew Porter, 2 James Tracy, 1 Jack McGrath (captain).
Replacements: 16 Seán Cronin, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Jordan Larmour, 23 Adam Byrne.
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Joy Neville (Ireland), Kieran Barry (Ireland)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)