Pro12: Leinster 17-0 Connacht
LEINSTER (7) 17
- Madigan, McGrath
- Madigan 2
- Pens :
CONNACHT (0) 0
Tries from Ian Madigan and Jack McGrath helped Leinster to a comfortable Pro12 derby victory over Connacht at the RDS.
Connacht's Dan Parks missed a penalty before Madigan opened the scoring on 33 minutes with a converted try to leave Leinster 7-0 ahead at the break,
The fly-half stretched the host's advantage with a penalty before adding the extras after replacement McGrath went over for a 73rd-minute try.
Connacht remained scoreless as Leinster recorded a first victory in four games.
The visitors had a strong wind at their backs in the opening half, but failed to register any score to reflect their dominance of territory.
Eric Elwood's side were unable to build on a fine early break from winger Danie Poolman as Leinster regrouped in a physical first 10 minutes.
Leinster's forwards grew into the contest, carrying well at close quarters, but the Michael Swift-inspired Connacht were finding holes in the hosts' defence.
Poolman just miscued a grubber kick as he latched onto a cross-field delivery from Dan Parks and Leinster snatched a crucial turnover after a dangerous catch and run from Robbie Henshaw.
Having gained ground in a scrum, Parks was presented with his first shot at the posts but pulled the 14th-minute penalty to the left and wide.
Andrew Goodman and Dominic Ryan both barged defenders as the men in blue gained further momentum and a quick tap penalty from Madigan saw him break out of a tackle to score from close range.
The fly-half added a tricky conversion from the right and boosted by the seven-pointer, Leinster continually got over the gain-line as half-time approached.
There was no sign of the midfield traffic giving way until Leinster sparked a series of pick and goes with 50 minutes on the clock.
Dominic Ryan, McFadden and stand-in captain Isaac Boss were heavily involved, before Devin Toner was held up over the try-line. Connacht held out though, winning a turnover from the resulting scrum.
Madigan did increase Leinster's lead with a well-struck penalty towards the end of the third quarter.
Connacht showed flashes of clever attacking play, most notably when scrum-half Kieran Marmion broke from a ruck near halfway and chipped towards the corner.
However, solid Leinster defence and cheap turnovers kept Connacht away from the whitewash and without a score to show for their efforts.
Having turned down a kickable penalty, Brett Wilkinson knocked on a pass from the ensuing lineout. Marshall then blocked an attempted kick from Parks and Leinster broke downfield.
The hosts pulled Connacht through phases of strength-sapping defence in the closing stages and the pressure told when McGrath, supported by Toner, thundered over to the right of the posts.
Leinster hunted for a third try in the dying minute with teenage replacement Adam Byrne threatening on the right wing, but they had already done enough to get their play-off push back on track.
Leinster: Conway, McFadden, Macken, Goodman, Carr, Madigan, Boss, van der Merwe, Dundon, Bent, Marsh, Toner, Ruddock, Ryan, Murphy.
Replacements: Reid for Conway (42), Cooney for Madigan (77), J. McGrath for van der Merwe (57), Cronin for Dundon (57), Ross for Bent (53), L. Auva'a for Ryan (70).
Not Used: Cullen, Byrne.
Connacht: Henshaw, Poolman, E. Griffin, McSharry, Healy, Parks, Marmion, Buckley, Harris-Wright, White, Swift, Naoupu, Browne, O'Connor, McKeon.
Replacements: O'Halloran for E. Griffin (57), O'Donohoe for Marmion (70), Wilkinson for Buckley (60), Reynecke for Harris-Wright (60), Loughney for White (54), Kearney for Swift (64), Grace for O'Connor (60).
Not Used: Jarvis.
Ref: John Lacey (Ireland).