Connacht see off Leinster Challenge

RAILWAY CUP SEMI FINAL                                                                                                                          CONNACHT 2-17                                                                                                                                                                         LEINSTER 1-18

Connacht’s Jason Doherty under pressure ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

In front of a small crowd typifying the competitions position in the minds of public, Connacht booked their spot in next week’s Railway Cup final beating Leinster in Parnell Park.

Connacht raced into an early lead hitting the first three scores before Heslin spotted the rot for the men in blue and white with two fine scores one off either boot.

But it was to be in vain as Ciaran Murtagh’s 22nd minute goal put Connacht five up.

Scorers from Cummins and Doherty ensured Connacht where in charge with at half time with a six point lead (1-10 – 0-7).

Leinster were not beaten yet starting the second half the strongest taking advantage of their dominance was Kieran Martin whose 41st minute goal made it a one point game.

With five minutes to play Heslin pointed to put Leinster into the lead for the first time in the match.

Both sides traded scores and where level twice in the intervening four minutes before Niall Murphy’s goal one minute from time proved crucial for the Westerners.

The game did not end without drama as Dolan struck the crossbar with virtually the last kick of the game ensuring Connacht would advance to the final.

CONNACHT: D Clarke; K McDonnell, N McInerney, D Wynne; N Daly, G O’Donnell, J Heaney; E Smith, K Higgins; F Cregg, C Murtagh, J Doherty; N Murphy, D Comer, D Cummins. Subs used: S Mullooly, C O’Shea,  E Mulligan, D Murtagh, J McManus,  A Varley.                                                                                                                                         SCORERS – Connacht:  N Murphy 1-3, J Doherty 0-6 (4f), C Murtagh 1-1, D Cummins 0-3, N Daly, E Smith, F Cregg, D Comer 0-1 each.

LEINSTER: A Mulhall; D Daly, K Meaney, P Rath; J Dolan, J Small, D Healy; J O’Loughlin, D Foley; K Martin, P Sharry, J McGrath; N Flynn, J Heslin, N Dunne. Subs used: J Byrne, G Guilfoyle, D St Ledger, D Byrne, P Cunningham, B Malone, S O’Rourke, P Collum.                                                                                                             SCORERS – Leinster: J Heslin 0-10 (6f), K Martin 1-1, S O’Rourke, J O’Loughlin, P Sharry, J McGrath, D Foley, J Byrne, D Byrne 0-1 each.

REF: N Money (Cavan)