Connacht move four points clear at the top of the Pro12 after Leinster win

A Kieran Marmion try in the first half was the only try of the game

BY Daniel Kelly 19:43 Saturday 26 March 2016, 19:43 26 Mar 2016

Connacht's Andrew Browne, Ronan Loughney and Caolin Blade celebrate Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombi

Connacht overcame their toughest test of the Pro12 campaign so far with a 7-6 win over Leinster in a blustery Sportsgrounds on Saturday evening.

The win moves Pat Lam's side four points clear at the top of the Pro12 table with only four games left in the season. The Westerners are 12 points clear of Ulster in fifth place and look set to feature in the end-of-season play-offs.

Connacht took advantage of the windy conditions in the first half and led 7-3 at half time. Winger Niyi Adeolokun chipped the ball through the Leinster defence which Kieran Marmion touched down at the back of the try area after 13 minutes.

The Irish scrum-half did excellently to beat the Leinster defence to a ball that looked like was going to run dead. Referee Nigel Owens was on hand to award the try without the need to go to the television official. AJ MacGinty scored the conversion to give Connacht a seven-point lead which proved to be good enough for the win.

Leinster failed to score in the first half as they struggled to cope with the conditions in Galway. Many attempts to kick the ball out of their 22 were thwarted by the win and Connacht kick the ball in the corners with precision.

Leo Cullen's side needed a strong start to the second half and it only took Ian Madigan two minutes to score Leinster's first points of the game thanks to a penalty. Connacht refused chances to extend their lead throughout the game due to the conditions. MacGinty kicked for touch on numerous occasions when a shot at goal seemed the better option in calmer conditions.

Madigan closed the gap to a point with 20 minutes to go and looked on course to win the game in the last five minutes as they were camped out in the Connacht 22. At one stage, Ross Molony crossed the line but was held up.

A resolute Connacht defence held out for the final two minutes at scrum time and even had time to overturn the ball to record the deserved win.

Connacht now lie four points clear of Leinster at the top of the table. Pat Lam's side face Ulster next weekend in Belfast, while Leinster are at home to Munster in a massive weekend of inter provincial fixtures for all four side. 


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