Pro12: Connacht 7-18 Ulster

Connacht 7-18 Ulster

Ulster secured their first win of the Pro12 campaign with Michael Allen and Paddy Jackson scoring tries in a hard-earned win over Connacht in Galway.

Early Connacht pressure paid off when Dan Parks broke through a couple of tackles for a 10th-minute try.

Winger Michael Allen touched down in the corner to leave Ulster 7-5 down.

A great break by centre Luke Marshall was the platform for a 57th-minute try by Paddy Jackson who got the conversion and also landed two penalties.

Mark Anscombe is relieved as his Ulster side beat Connacht 18-7 in the Pro12 match at Galway.

Connacht, having started well, did not manage a point in the second half and Ulster will be satisfied with their disciplined second-half display which turned the Irish derby encounter their way.

Having lost their opening two games in the Pro12, it was an important result for Mark Anscombe's men who lost out to Leinster's in last season's final at the RAS.

They will, though, have to tighten up on the slack defensive work which allowed former Scotland fly-half Parks to pass the 1,500 points mark in the competition by twisting and turning his way over the line for the game's opening score.

Parks landed the conversion but Ulster found a speedy response as Allen was put in on the left corner.

Jackson was off target with the touchline conversion and he and opposite number Parks missed decent penalty chances to leave Connacht 7-5 at half-time.

The game swung Ulster's way when Jackson landed a penalty in the 55th minute, quickly followed by his try.

Marshall's surging run sparked the try as he passed to Darren Cave who was held up yards from the line. The replacement scrum-half got things moving again, feeding Jared Payne who released Jackson for the touchdown.

Jackson landed the conversion and then added a penalty for 18-7.

"We were lacking a bit of confidence and the execution was just not there early on," said Ulster coach Anscombe.

"But we scored two good tries and sometimes you just have to get the monkey off your back and hopefully this win will do that.

"There is a lot of work to do - they are a tough team and we had to battle hard."

Connacht: G Duffy; F Carr, R Henshaw, E Griffin, M Healy; D Parks, K Marmion; B Wilkinson, J Harris-Wright, N White; M Swift (capt), C Clarke; J Heenan, W Faloon, J Muldoon.

Replacements: S Henry, R Ah You, R Loughney, A Muldowney, G Naoupu, P O'Donohoe, C Ronaldson, D Poolman.

Ulster: J Payne; D McIlwaine, D Cave, L Marshall, M Allen; P Jackson, I Porter; T Court, R Herring, D Fitzpatrick; J Muller (capt), I Henderson; R Wilson, C Henry, N Williams.

Replacements: N Annett, K McCall, R Lutton, L Stevenson, R Diack, P Marshall, J McKinney, C Gilroy.