Connacht are happy out heading into the New Year having completed their first ever double seasonal victory over Ulster.
The Ulstermen were coming to the Sportground looking for payback for their first home field loss to Connacht in more than half a century.
Andy Friend’s side were looking to regain their momentum after a bruising loss to Leinster at the RDS, finishing 21-12 against Ulster in a near repeat score of October’s match.
This victory moves Connacht ahead of Munster in Munster in Conference A in the Guinness Pro14, for now at least.
Connacht dominated much of the play with tries from Shane Delahunt, Bundee Aki and Caolin Blade.
The men of the west took the lead aggressively in the first half, with a scrum yielding a penalty in the first ten minutes.
Delahunt took it over the line and Carty converted, follwed up by a second effort from Aki that left Connacht 14-0 early on.
Ulster ate into Connacht’s lead before half time as Angus Kernohan halved the score deficit with the help of John Cooney after catching a fumble
But coming into the second half Connacht kept their momentum, buoyed by an 8,000 strong home crowd.
Not five minutes into the second Carty caught a kick through from Kyle Goodwin and handed into onto Caolin Blade who carried it through.
Carty pitched it over the bars again to restore Connacht’s 14 point lead.
Jodi Murphy’s score made a last ditch effort to put pressure on Connacht, but Cooney couldn’t make the conversion.
After a frentic last few minutes Connacht took home the victory and a good season’s record with six wins out of seven outings.
Connacht – Tries: Shane Delahunt, Bundee Aki, Caolin Blade. Conversions: Jack Carty 3 cons.
Ulster – Tries: Angus Kernohan, Jordi Murphy. Conversions: John Cooney 1.
Connacht – D Leader; C Kelleher, T Farrell, B Aki, K Godwin (S Fitzgerald 63); J Carty (D Horwitz 77), C Blade (J Mitchell 77); D Buckley (P McCabe 66), S Delahunt (D Heffernan 54), C Carey (D Robertson McCoy 40); G Thornbury, Q Roux (U Dillane 66); S O’Brien, C Fainga’a, J Butler (P Boyle 64).
Ulster – L Ludik; H Speight (D Shanahan 60), W Addison, D Cave, A Kernohan; J McPhillips (P Nelson 52), J Cooney; E O’Sullivan (T O’Hagan 48) (O’Sullivan 67), R Herring (A McBurney 77), M Moore (R Kane 48); I Nagle (C Ross 77), K Treadwell; N Timoney, J Murphy, M Coetzee (G Jones 46 HIA).
Ref – Marius Mitrea (FIR).