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Last Updated: Friday, 16 April, 2004, 18:08 GMT 19:08 UK
Ulster 42-27 Connacht
CELTIC LEAGUE
David Humphreys in fine form against Connacht
Ulster (15) 42
Tries: McMillan, Bowe, Ward, Scott, Wallace
Con: Humphreys 3
Pens: Humphreys 3
Connacht (21) 27
Try: McPhillips, Munn
Cons: McHugh
Pen: McHugh 3, Hewitt 2
Att: 7,300
Ulster maintained their long-standing leadership of the Celtic League despite by a very determined attempt to derail them by Connacht.

But it took a 73rd minute try by Scott Young to earn a vital bonus point. Andy Ward, Neil McMillan, Tommy Bowe and Paddy Wallace also touched down.

Ulster fly-half David Humphreys kicked 17 points in an impressive display.

Conor McPhillips and Wayne Munn crossed for Connacht with Mark McHugh contributing 11 points with the boot.

It was a rip-roaring contest with fortunes swaying regularly, particularly in the second half when Ulster finally got their act together.

The Connacht pack gave the opposition eight a torrid time, particularly their driving mauls with the western province looking at the outset to inflict the first defeat on Ulster at Ravenhill this season.

Ulster guessed what was ahead of them as early as the second minute when right wing McPhillips burst through the centre for an easy try.

Ulster to their credit stormed back in the 10th minute when flanker McMillan charged down a clearance kick by McHugh to win the race for the touchdown.

Two penalties by McHugh and another by Humphreys kept the scoreboard ticking along before Ulster's 20-year-old debutant Bowe supported a Humphreys break to sprint over for a great try in the 32nd minute.

Ulster winger Wayne Munn who scored ULster's fourth try against Connacht
Ulster try scorer Scott Young caught by Wayne Munn

But Connacht charged back four minutes later with another break of Ulster's midfield this time it was left wing Munn bulldozing through to go at the posts.

McHugh converted and then added a 45-metre penalty to give his side a 21-15 interval lead.

Replacement kicker Dave Hewitt pushed Connacht further ahead immediately after the restart before Ulster began to shrug of their lethargy.

Humphreys landed an angled penalty and then converted a superbly worked try by skipper Ward in the 57th minute to give Ulster the lead again.

With one eye on next week's Parker Pen Cup semi-final, Connacht coach Michael Bradley rung the changes as Hewitt and Humphreys exchanged penalties.

But Ulster finished with a flourish with Young swooping on a kick ahead by Neil Doak to score and Wallace squeezing over for the final score in injury time.


Ulster: B Cunningham; S Young; S Mallon, P Steinmetz, T Bowe; D Humphreys, K Campbell; R McCormick, P Shields, S Best, G Longwell, R Frost, A Ward, N McMillan, R Wilson.
Replacements: N Brady, R Moore for McCormack (52), T Barker for Longwell (40), N Best for McMillan (28), N Doak for Campbell (46), P Wallace for Cunningham (53).

Connacht: D Hewitt; C McPhillips; D Yapp, M McHugh, W Munn; S Moore, C O'Loughlin, D McFarland, B Jackman (capt), P Bracken, D Browne, A Farley, M Swift, T Carter, J O'Sullivan.
Replacements: J Fogarty for Jackman (58), A Clarke for Bracken (48), M McCarthy for Brown (58), P Neville, M Walls for O'Loughlin (47), J Meagher for McHugh (40), T Robinson for Moore (47).

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales).




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