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Last Updated: Friday, 28 January, 2005, 21:15 GMT
Borders 9-18 Connacht
CELTIC LEAGUE
Ally Dickson drives through the Connacht forwards
Borders (3) 9
Pens: Warnock (3)
Connacht (15) 18
Tries: Warwick, Fogerty
Con: Warwick
Pen: McHugh
Drop goal: Slemen
Att: 1,174
An impressive first-half display by Connacht earned them victory over Borders at Netherdale.

Tries from Paul Warwick and John Fogerty added to a Warwick conversion and a David Slemen drop goal put the visitors in charge at the break.

Ally Warnock, whose first-half penalty was Borders' only score, kicked another two penalties after the interval.

But with the Connacht defence holding up well, Mark McHugh knocked over a penalty to make sure of the win.

Borders had looked the hungrier outfit in the opening exchanges but they could not turn pressure into points.

They should have broken through when Ally Dickson was released in the wake of a powerful pack drive, but he became isolated from support and the danger was mopped up.

Having weathered the early storm, it was Connacht who seized the initiative by surging into a 10-0 lead.

They refused to let Warwick's penalty miss affect their momentum and he made amends by bagging the opening touchdown following a break by Slemen and slick recycling work.

Warwick added the conversion before a poor tackle attempt from Stuart Moffat allowed Darren Yapp to embark on a 50-metre dash.

He was eventually brought down, but they maintained their patience to create the time and space for Slemen to slot a tidy drop-goal.

Warnock eased the Borders' jitters with a penalty, but the rest of the half belonged to the Irishmen.

They remained camped inside the home half for 15 minutes but they could only manufacture one try during that period of dominance.

The latest in a long series of forward drives paved the way for hooker Fogerty to plunge over.

Borders showed no real signs of making a significant breakthrough in the second half, though they did whittle away at the visitors' lead with two more Warnock penalties.

Both sides were becoming increasingly frustrated with the display of Welsh referee Tim Hayes, who marked his league debut by sin-binning rival breakaway forwards Wayne McEntee and John O'Sullivan.

Borders survived their spell without the former, but Warnock was wide with another penalty bid when the latter was shown the card.

As the seconds ticked away, Connacht's confidence grew and they effectively tied up the contest with a McHugh penalty after another offence by McEntee.

Borders: Morton, Moffat, MacRae, Dickson, Walker, Warnock, Weston; Thomson (cpt), Ford, Cross, Blair, Stewart, Dalziel, Miller, McEntee.

Replacements: Kay, McGee, Brown, Pattison, McKerchar, Berthinussen, Steel.

Connacht: Mostyn, McPhillips, Warwick, McHugh, Yapp, Slemen, Tierney; Hogan, Fogarty, Bracken, , Short, Farley (cpt), Swift, Muldoon, O'Sullivan.

Replacements: Jackman, McFarland, Knoop, Myburgh, O'Connor, Keane,Robinson.




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