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Last Updated: Friday, 17 October, 2003, 21:38 GMT 22:38 UK
First win for Leinster

CELTIC LEAGUE
Leinster's Brian O'Meara
Leinster (9) 21
Tries: Leek, Breslin
Con: O'Meara
Pens: O'Meara (3)
Connacht (6) 6
Pens: Elwood (2)
Att: 2,100

Leinster shrugged off World Cup absentees to clinch a first Celtic League victory of the season against Connacht.

With 11 players Down Under and eight others injured, the league has looked bleak for the Leinster.

They went into this game without a win in four matches and a poor first half was offset by some excellent open play running, particularly by the visitors.

Former Ireland wing Matt Mostyn was kept out by Leinster full-back Brendan Burke and the corner flag on 16 minutes as Connacht achieved one of the few sights of the trylines.

The 22-year-old Burke, who recently signed a new two-year contract , had to be taken off with a swollen ankle 10 minutes later to increase Leinster's injury woes.

Brian O'Meara notched three first half penalties for the home side, opening his account in the fifth minute and concluding the period with a 35metre effort to give Leinster a 9-6 interval lead.

The westerners' Eric Elwood offered Connacht's only replies with two penalties, the second on 37 minutes after Leinster back row Des Dillon was sin-binned for killing the ball 10 metres from the home line.

A second yellow card, five minutes after the break, for Leinster front row Emmet Byrne brought their season's tally to one red and six yellow.

But a period of ascendancy saw out-half Matt Leek slither through a gap on the Connacht 22 on the hour mark for a deserved try, converted by O'Meara.

A further try, a first for flanker Niall Breslin on 65 minutes, finished off Connacht's effort to take the home side off the bottom of the table.

Leinster: Burke, McWeeney, Downey, Quinlan, Brown, Leek, O'Meara, E. Byrne, G. Hickie, Coyle, Cullen, Gissing, Breslin, Dillon, Jennings.
Replacements: Treston, D. Blaney, Kearney, Ronan, O'Riordan, McKenna, O'Shea.

Connacht: McHugh, Mostyn, Yapp, T. Allnut, McPhillips, Elwood, Keane, Hogan, Jackman, Boiroux, Browne, Farley, Swift, O'Sullivan, Carter.
Replacements: Fogarty, Clarke, McCarthy, Neville, O'Loughlin, Hewitt, Moore.

Referee: Hugh Watkins (Welsh RFU)


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