Pro14: Connacht 44-16 Ulster
|Connacht (20) 44|
|Tries: Masterson, Aki, O'Halloran, Dillane 2, Butler Cons: Carty 4 Pens: Carty 2|
|Ulster (6) 16|
|Tries: Gilroy, Lyttle Pens: Cooney 2|
Ulster went down to a heavy Pro14 defeat in Galway as Connacht ran in six tries in a one-sided Irish derby.
An impressive Connacht side overpowered the visitors and led 20-6 at the break with tries from Eoghan Masterson, Bundee Aki and Tiernan O'Halloran.
Ultan Dillane went over for two second-half tries and Jarrad Butler added another for the dominant hosts.
Ulster were outmuscled and poor in defence although Craig Gilroy and Rob Lyttle scored consolation tries.
Ulster were forced into a late switch with Clive Ross coming in for ill lock Matty Dalton and resulting in Iain Henderson moving to the second row.
The visitors had the wind advantage in the first half but they were blown away by Connacht's blistering start.
Connacht's line-out drive drilled through a weak Ulster defence and Masterson touched down for an unconverted try after four minutes.
The second try came just four minutes later with Matt Healy making the break before Kieran Marion put Aki through and he scampered over.
Jack Carty added the extras before Ulster enjoyed a period of respite and they got on the scoreboard with a John Muldoon penalty.
However, Connacht added a third try from the restart as O'Halloran cut inside and weaved through to the line.
Carty failed with the conversion but after Cooney registered a second penalty, he slotted over a kick to leave Connacht in command at the break.
The misery continued for Ulster on the restart with prop Andrew Warwick yellow carded for not rolling away at the breakdown - Carty fired over the resulting penalty.
Ulster were soon down to 13 men as Louis Ludik followed Warwick into the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on.
Connacht capitalised with Dillane touching down from another line-out drive to seal the bonus point and Carty converted.
Butler sauntered over to complete a fine passing move as the westerners added another seven points to chalk up their highest score against Ulster at the Sportsground.
Gilroy cut through before charging over for an unconverted try with 15 minutes left.
Dillane scored his second try after Connacht intercepted a Paul Marshall and they lost O'Halloran to a yellow card, received for holding on to a player, before Lyttle sprinted over in the last minute as the game fizzled out.
Ulster stay third in Conference B while Connacht move up to fourth in Conference A.
Connacht: T O'Halloran, N Adeleokun, B Aki, T Farrell, M Healy, J Carty, K Marmion; D Coulson, S Delahunt, F Bealham, U Dillane, Q Roux, E Masterson, J Butler, J Muldoon (capt).
Replacements: T McCartney, P McCabe, C Carey, J Cannon, N Dawai, J Mitchell, E Griffin, D Leader.
Ulster: J Stockdale; C Gilroy, L Ludik, D Cave, A Trimble; P Nelson, J Cooney; A Warwick, J Andrew, W Herbst; I Henderson (capt), R Diack;, C Ross, S Reidy, N Timoney.
Replacements: A McBurney, S van der Merwe, R Kane, M Rea, G Jones, P Marshall, J McPhillips, R Lyttle.