BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese

BBC Sport
 You are in: Rugby Union: Celtic  
Sport Front Page
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Other Sports
Special Events
Sports Talk
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
Around The UK: 
N Ireland

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather

Friday, 13 September, 2002, 18:27 GMT 19:27 UK
McHugh stuns Leinster
Ireland flanker Ketih Gleeson
Keith Gleeson scored two second-half tries for Leinster
Leinster 23-26 Connacht

An injury-time dropped goal by Mark McHugh gave Connacht a deserved victory over Celtic League champions Leinster at Donnybrook on Friday evening.

It was Leinster's second successive defeat and it ironically came from the boot of their former fly-half as Connacht surged to the top of Pool B.

McHugh was used a replacement for Leinster over the years before moving to the west, and it was his sweet right boot that undid Leinster in a pulsating finish.

Once again it was former Ireland international Eric Elwood who had helped steer Connacht into the ascendency.

However, the final quarter was very competitive as Leinster kept coming back to level the game with Ireland flanker Keith Gleeson twice crossing the line.

Hard nut

The first half was more noticeable for big hits than big scores as Connacht constantly troubled the champions.

Leinster may have started off in a rush and took a fourth-minute lead through the boot of O'Meara.

However, they were always going to find Connacht a hard nut to crack.

Elwood and O'Meara traded penalties within a minute before Connacht stormed ahead with the opening try of the game in the 10th minute.

After their pack did the spadework to secure the position, a five-yard scrum saw scrum-half Chris Keane pick up a loose ball and romp in at the corner.

Elwood landed the touchline conversion before O'Meara pulled back the deficit with his third penalty in the 28th minute after Leinster finally broke clear of Connacht pressure.

  Match details:
Leinster 23 (9)
Tries: Gleeson 2
Pens: O'Meara (3)
Cons: O'Meara (2)
Connacht 26 (13)
Tries: Keane, Munn
Cons: Elwood (2)
Dg: McHugh
Pens: Elwood (3)

Connacht had the final say of the half with Elwood giving them a 13-9 advantage with his second penalty right on the half-time whistle.

Leinster had territorial advantage on the resumption, but they could not pierce a tough Connacht defence.

Even when Connacht lost their young flanker Johnny O'Connor to the sin-bin, Leinster could not take advantage.

Frustratingly for Leinster it was 14-man Connacht who stretched their lead in the 52nd minute, with Elwood casually knocking over his third penalty.

But Leinster finally stormed back into contention with a driving try by Keith Gleeson from a line-out, which O'Meara converted to level up the game on the hour.

But Connacht stormed back into the lead in the 71st-minute with a flowing move that allowed left wing Wayne Munn to crash over in the corner.

Elwood again converted from the touchline.

Leinster were not giving up just yet and Gleeson burst through for his second try with only a minute of normal time remaining .

O'Meara again squared things up with the conversion.

But then came that marvellous effort from McHugh to keep Connacht's unbeaten record intact.

Leinster: Gordon D'Arcy, Denis Hickie, Keiran Lewis, Shane Horgan, John McWeeney, Christian Warner, Brian O'Meara, Reggie Corrigan (capt), Shane Byrne, Paul Wallace, Leo Cullen, Mal O'Kelly, Eric Miller, Keith Gleeson, Victor Costello.
Replacements: Niall Treston, Peter Smyth, Ben Gissing, Des Dillon, Ben Willis, Andy Dunne, David Quinlan, Aidan McCullen.

Connacht: Mark McHugh; Ted Robinson; Darren Yapp, Tim Allnutt, capt, Wayne Munn; Eric Elwood, Chris Keane; Dan McFarland, Marnus Uijs, Peter Bracken, Warwick Waugh, Rowan Frost, Michael Swift, Johnny O'Connor, John O'Sullivan.
Replacements: Ronan McCormack, Jerry Flannery, Colm Rigney, Paul Neville, Mike Walls, Shane Moore, Dermot O┐Sullivan.

The final



Links to more Celtic stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Celtic stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales