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Connacht 11-6 Aironi

Connacht (8) 11
Try: Keatley Pens: Keatley 2
Aironi (0) 6
Pens: Tebaldi 2

Ian Keatley scores Connacht's first-half try
Ian Keatley scores Connacht first-half try in Galway

Connacht scrapped their way to a narrow win over the Magners League's bottom side Aironi at the Sportsground.

Ian Keatley's 11-point haul in the snow showers was enough to send Connacht up to seventh in the table.

Keatley kicked a penalty and scored a try late in the first half as Connacht led 8-0 at the interval.

The Connacht fly-half added a second penalty but also missed four kicks and Tito Tebaldi's two penalties meant Aironi snatched a deserved bonus point.

In the opening minutes the Italians kept Connacht out after two superb touch-finders from Keatley, who missed a subsequent 30-metre penalty.

A Ray Ofisa-inspired breakout resulted in Connacht's forwards storming through and Keatley landing the first points.

Fionn Carr had a try ruled out for a forward pass from Keatley and Connacht lacked penetration until first-half injury time.

A neat wraparound move involving Troy Nathan sent the fly-half hurtling towards the Aironi line and although Riccardo Bocchino made the tackle, Keatley's momentum took him over.

Carr's pace caused problems for Aironi and Keatley converted the second of two penalty attempts to make it 11-0.

Eric Elwood's men just could not cut loose though, and the arrival of snow hampered their attacks as Aironi kept plugging away, marshalled by a determined Marco Bortolami.

Replacement winger Giulio Toniolatti was held up just short of the Connacht whitewash, with Frank Murphy coming to his side's rescue.

Play was brought back for a penalty which Tebaldi knocked over.

A powerful run from Williams got Aironi side back on the front foot and Tebaldi's 75th-minute penalty was the final scoring act.

Connacht: G Duffy; B Tuohy, N Ta'auso, T Nathan, F Carr; I Keatley, F Murphy; B Wilkinson, A Flavin, J Hagan; M Swift, M McCarthy; A Browne, J O'Connor (capt), R Ofisa.

Replacements: K Matthews for Duffy 73, R Ah You for Hagan 68, B Upton for McCarthy 70.
Not Used: D Murphy, R Sweeney, J Muldoon, C Willis, Nikora.

Aironi: J Marshall; K Robertson, G Pavan, M Pratichetti, D Demas; R Bocchino, T Tebaldi; A De Marchi, R Santamaria, U Gamboa; J Furno, M Bortolami (capt); J Sole, G Krause, N Williams.

Replacements: G Toniolatti for Robertson 63, G Pizarro for Pavan 59, G Rubini for Bocchino 68, L Ferraro for Santamaria 57, F Staibano for Gamboa 46.
Not Used: A De Marchi, G Biagi, N Cattina.

Referee: J Jones (WRU)

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see also
McComish and Black set for Ulster
07 Mar 11 |  Ulster
Ulster 23-10 Aironi
04 Mar 11 |  Ulster
Connacht 31-25 Benetton Treviso
04 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union
Magners League
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union

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