Connacht hit Ospreys for six to record their biggest win of the season

Connacht 46
Ospreys 5

Declan Rooney reports from the Sportsground

KYLE GODWIN MARKED his first start at out-half for Connacht with a brilliant kicking performance as Andy Friend’s side claimed a vital bonus-point win in really difficult conditions at the Sportsground.

Two tries from Kieran Marmion helped them to a five-point haul against Conference A rivals Ospreys, which has boosted Connacht’s hopes of a play-off position. Their six-try win was their biggest of the season, a week after suffering their biggest loss of the campaign in Glasgow.

Kieran Marmion gets in for a Connacht try. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

With a powerful wind in their favour, Connacht had four tries on the board by half-time. Ospreys were punished for their ill-discipline, with three sin-binnings and the concession of 17 penalties.

The first try arrived after a minute and a half, when Peter Robb’s line-break was finished off by Tom Farrell, and Godwin converted.

The Australian added two penalties which put Connacht 13-0 ahead, but Godwin then saw a clearance kick charged down by Olly Cracknell, which allowed Matthew Aubrey to score for the visitors, very much against the run of play.

Godwin looked to have scored a memorable try from his own half, but referee Marius Mitrea ruled it out for a block on halfway. However, Connacht soon bagged their second try when Matt Healy rounded off a brilliant move that swept right and then switched back to the left.

Marmion put in more than an hour for Connacht and he looked really sharp. His first try came when Jarrad Butler broke off the back of a scrum and the scrum-half powered over after half an hour.

Connacht’s Tom Farrell is tackled by Tom Botha of Ospreys. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Three tries would already have represented a good first-half return for the home side, but when Tiernan O’Halloran raced clear after an intercept in added time, the home side secured the bonus point when Keelan Giles deliberately knocked on and Mitrea awarded the penalty try.

Giles was also sin-binned and Connacht led 34-5 at the break, while his team-mate Jordan Lay joined him on the sideline seven minutes after the restart as the penalty count mounted for the Ospreys.

Just before Giles returned, Marmion scored his second try when the ball was moved from left to right through the hands, and despite Connacht showing how to play with the conditions in the first half, Ospreys failed to repeat their smart territorial tactics.

Ten minutes from time, after Bradley Davies became the third Ospreys player sin-binned, Tom McCartney scored off the back of a maul, which pushed Connacht’s lead out to 40 points, and the home side rounded off one of the most one-sided wins in memory.

Kyle Godwin receives the man of the match award. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Connacht scorers:

Tries: Farrell, Healy, Marmion 2, penalty try, McCartney
Conversions: Godwin [5 from 5]
Penalties: Godwin [2 from 2]

Ospreys scorers:

Tries: Aubrey

CONNACHT: Tiernan O’Halloran (Cian Kelleher ‘55); Stephen Fitzgerald, Tom Farrell, Peter Robb, Matt Healy; Kyle Godwin (Tom Daly ‘69), Kieran Marmion (Caolin Blade ‘60); Denis Buckley (Peter McCabe ‘64), Shane Delahunt (Tom McCartney ‘59), Finlay Bealham (Conor Carey ‘59); Quinn Roux, Ultan Dillane (James Cannon ‘69); Eoin McKeon (Paul Boyle ‘69), Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (c).

OSPREYS: Dan Evans; Hanno Dirksen (Luke Morgan ‘58), Cory Allen, James Hook (Tom Williams ‘58), Keelan Giles; Luke Price, Matthew Aubrey (Harri Morgan ‘58); Jordan Lay (Rowan Jenkins ‘73), Scott Baldwin (Scott Otten ‘55), Tom Botha (Ma’afu Fia ‘53); James King, Bradley Davies; Olly Cracknell (c), Sam Cross (Lloyd Ashley ‘71), Rob McCusker (Rowan Jenkins ‘47-‘57) (Will Griffiths ‘58)

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Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy).

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