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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 October 2005, 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK
Connacht 19-44 Munster
Gary Connolly crashes over for the first of his two tries for Munster
Connacht: (12) 19:
Try: McPhillips
Cons: Warwick
Pens: Slemen 2, Warwick 2
Munster: (13) 44:
Tries: Connolly, Sheahan, Horan, Pucciariello
Cons: O'Gara 4, Burke
Pens: O'Gara 3
Att: 2,300
Former Great Britain rugby league star Gary Connolly celebrated his Munster debut with two tries as Declan Kidney's side thrashed Connacht in Galway.

Frankie Sheahan, Marcu Horan and Federico Pucciariello also crossed as Munster move up to join Edinburgh at the top of the Celtic League.

Ronan O'Gara kicked 17 points to keep the scoreboard ticking along with Conor McPhillips crossing for Connacht.

Connacht's other points came from the boot of David Slemen and Paul Warwick.

But it was all eyes on Connolly who was making his first union game for three years. Within 13 minutes he had registrered on the scoreboard when he took neat inside pass from Ian Dowling.

Slemen and his replacement Warwick kept Connacht ahead with with three penalties between them early on before O'Gara found his range to give Munster a slender 13-12 interval lead.

But with Matt Lacey in the sin-bin after being yellow-carded in first-half injury time, Munster took full advantage at the start of the second half.

From Donncha O'Callaghan's lineout grab, hooker Sheahan trundled over to score from a traditional Munster maul.

O'Gara converted and added the extras to speedy prop Horan's try three minutes later when he impressively outpaced the Connacht backs.

O'Gara added his third penalty and then converted the 34-year-old Connolly's second try from out wide to rub salt into the Connacht wounds.

To their credit, Michael Bradley's side replied with a 72nd-minute try for winger McPhillips.

However, Munster had the final say when replacement prop Federico Pucciariello wrapped up a good day's work.

Connacht: Mostyn, McPhillips, Yapp, Downey, Matthews, Slemen, Keane, Hogan, Fogerty, Knoop, Gallagher, Farley, Muldoon, Lacey, Rigney.
Replacements: Warwick for Slemen (27), McFarland for Hogan (55).
Not used: Venter, Short, O'Connor, O'Loughlin, Robinson.

Munster: B Murphy, Kelly, Connolly, Halstead, Dowling, O'Gara, Stringer, Horan, Sheahan, Hayes, O'Callaghan, O'Driscoll, S. Keogh, Leamy, Foley.
Replacements: Henderson for Connolly (70), O'Leary for Dowling (46), Burke for O'Gara (76), Flannery for Sheahan (68), Pucciariello for Hayes (70), Hogan for O'Callaghan (79), O'Connor for Leamy (76).

Referee: David Keane (IRFU).



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