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Leinster edge out Connacht at RDS
20 Dec 2014 15:03
Leinster 21-11 Connacht
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By Eoin Ryan
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A late defensive blunder cost Connacht a bonus point as Leinster claimed a 21-11 Guinness Pro12 derby win that was far from comfortable at the RDS.
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Leinster led 8-6 at half-time thanks to a Shane Jennings try and pulled further clear through the boot of Jimmy Gopperth.
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When George Naoupu touched down with six minutes to play, Connacht were just three points behind at 14-11, but with the clock ticking down they allowed Zane Kirchner to grab a soft try that killed even the chance of a losing bonus point.
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Leinster were first to threaten the scoreboard early on, but solid defence from Connacht allowed scrum-half Kieran Marmion to clear.
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A yellow card for Aly Muldowney immediately put the hosts under more pressure however, and when Leinster won a penalty from a Connacht scrum seven metres out, they kicked for the corner. The subsequent lineout and maul resulted in Shane Jennings touching down on 12 minutes.
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Gopperth missed the conversion but kicked a penalty four minutes later to extend Leinster's lead to eight points.
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Connacht clawed their way back into the contest, but Jack Carty kicked a 15-metre penalty wide from a tight angle.
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He made amends just after the half-hour however, and it looked like they had levelled when the unmarked Danie Poolman caught Carty's cross kick right in the corner.
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Replays showed he had put a foot in touch while grounding the ball though and the TMO ruled it out.
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Connacht came roaring back and desperate defence from Leinster led to a sin-binning for Tadhg Furlong, with Carty kicking the resulting penalty for a half-time score of 8-6.
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Leinster proved just as effective with 14 after the interval as they secured an early penalty that Gopperth booted from nearly halfway.
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The Kiwi made it 14-6 after 49 minutes, and though Connacht continued to try and run the ball, they turned possession over five metres out when a try looked on.
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Isaac Boss was held up at the line before Ireland international lock Devin Toner became the third man to enter the sin bin in the 74th minute for coming in from the side.
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From the resulting lineout and drive, number eight Naoupu crashed over to give the visitors renewed hope, but the wind held up Carty's conversion, which bounced short, leaving Connacht five minutes to close a 14-11 gap.
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However, disaster struck for Connacht as Matt Healy's attempt to stop Gopperth's penalty reaching touch bounced kindly for Kirchner, who showed lightning-quick reactions to touch down.
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Gopperth converted for an 11-point win that was harsh on the Westerners as Matt O'Connor's men climbed temporarily into second spot in the table.
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