The celebrations were in full swing in the Connacht dressing room after their victory over the Cardiff Blues sent them through to the Guinness Pro14 play-offs.

Ulster now await them in the quarter-final.

The 29-22 win at the Sportsground also ensured they will be competing in the Champions Cup next season, meaning there were smiles all round as Andy Friend urged his players to enjoy the moment.

"You put yourselves in a great position," he said while addressing the team after the game, "outstanding job to everybody. Let's enjoy the night."

The hosts edged out a thrilling battle with the Welsh outfit, with Caoilin Blade, Gavin Thornbury, Jack Carty and Matt Healy all posting tries for the Westerners.

A 79th minute try from Jason Harries left Connacht facing a nervy finish with only seven points separating the sides at the death. 

But Friend's charges managed to hold on for a crucial win which sees progress to the next stage of the competition. 

"We believed in ourselves throughout the whole year. We're delighted to be there, we deserve to be there. We've a few more hurdles to go through and we'll go from there," a delighted Bundee Aki told RTÉ Sport's Darren Frehill after the final whistle.

Man-of-the-match Carty popped up with his second-half try in the 49th minute, at a time when they were playing into a biting gale force wind.

"When the wind was into our face we played really direct, and when we do that we're really good.

"I was lucky that we made a bit of yardage up the edge and I managed to get underneath the sticks."

Carty meeting the fans after their win

Remarking on their overall performance, he said

"When we went in at half-time, after playing with the breeze, we didn't capitalise and put as many points between ourselves and Cardiff as we would have liked.

"But the first ten minutes we blew them away with the directness we played with and it was just phenomenal to finish the game the way we did.

"To have the support and send the lads who are retiring off in style was really good.

Connacht will now prepare to face Ulster in the Pro14 quarter-finals, but Carty insists that their next outing against Munster is their only priority at the moment.

"We have Munster in two weeks' time. We'll take that first. We're looking forward to play-off rugby. Anything can happen.

"Ulster have built really well throughout the year.

"Dan (McFarland) has done a really good job with them.

"The physicality they showed last night and a few weeks ago against Leinster, they're a completely different beast at the moment."