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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 April, 2004, 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK
Connacht 24-21 Ospreys
CELTIC LEAGUE
Andrew Farley's try started Connacht's second-half revival
Connacht (7) 24:
Tries: McHugh, Farley, O'Sullivan.
Cons: McHugh 3.
Pen: McHugh.
Ospreys (18) 21:
Tries: Bater, Tandy.
Con: Henson.
Pens: Henson 3.
Att: 2,964
Connacht staged a brilliant revival at the Sportsground to end the Ospreys' five-game unbeaten run.

The Welsh led 18-7 at the interval, but tries from Andrew Farley and John O'Sullivan in the last half-hour saw Connacht complete a fine comeback.

Mark McHugh, who scored a try in the first half, converted all three of Connacht's scores and added the vital penalty kick that made the difference.

The Ospreys led at half-time through James Bater and Steve Tandy scores.

Ospreys full-back Gavin Henson opened the scoring with a 26-metre penalty, backed by a strong breeze, after two minutes.

But the home side struck for the game's first try on 14 minutes when McHugh picked up a bouncing ball on the run to round Stefan Terblanche and score.

South African Terblanche was shuffled into touch by Connacht's Matt Mostyn on 22 minutes when a quick Ospreys reply looked on, but Henson reduced the deficit to a single point with his second penalty.

Ospreys closed out the first half in front, however, thanks to a Tandy try set up by a flat pass from his back-row colleague Bater in the 26th minute.

Henson missed the conversion to the left, as did McHugh with a 35th-minute penalty, but a long Shaun Connor pass saw Bater over with two minutes remaining as the Ospreys took an 18-7 lead into the second half.

Henson added his third goal four minutes after the restart to put the Welsh side 14 points in front, but Connacht mustered a revival on 58 minutes with Farley barging over in the left corner.

Former Ireland A international McHugh put over a superb conversion to put Connacht within touching distance.

The home side roared to the finish thanks to a first McHugh penalty on 61 minutes, then 13 minutes from time O'Sullivan clambered over near the posts following a back-row move.

The Ospreys at least had the consolation of a bonus point for losing by seven points or less, as they bid to stay ahead of the Cardiff Blues in the scrap for Heineken Cup qualification


Connacht: Mostyn, McPhillips, Yapp, McHugh, Munn, Elwood, Walls, McFarland, Jackman, Bracken, Swift, Farley, McCarthy, Lacey, O'Sullivan.

Replacements: Fogarty, Clarke, Browne, Neville, O'Loughlin, Moore, Robinson.

Ospreys: G Henson, S Terblanche, J Storey, D Tiueti, E Seveali'i, S Connor, A Williams, P James, B Williams (capt), A Millward, A Newman, L Tait, J Bater, S Tandy, N Bonner-Evans.

Replacements: D Jones, A Jones, A Lloyd, L Bateman, R Pugh, S Williams, A Durston.

Referee: Graeme Hannah (Scotland).




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