Pro14: Connacht 26-15 Ospreys
|Pro14: Connacht v Ospreys|
|Connacht: (13) 26|
|Tries: Masterson, Farrell Cons: Ronaldson 2 Pens: Ronaldson 4|
|Ospreys: (5) 15|
|Tries: Howells, Morgan-Williams Con: Davies Pen: Davies|
Connacht are up to fourth place in Conference A of the Pro14 after an 11-point victory over Ospreys in Galway.
Tries by Eoghan Masterson and Tom Farrell earned Connacht a dogged win.
Ospreys were left to rue a series of missed chances at the Sportsground as they failed to convert their periods of dominance into points.
Dafydd Howells and Reuben Morgan-Williams both touched down for the visitors, who remain sixth in the conference standings.
The visitors had plenty of possession in Connacht territory but a series of costly spilled passes and penalties prevented them from scoring on several occasions.
After they had weathered an early Ospreys attack, the home side took the lead in the 10th minute.
Craig Ronaldson's first penalty attempt struck the post but Connacht scrambled quickly to regain the ball and earn another chance for their fly-half to put them ahead.
The Irish side lost two key players in the opening 15 minutes as Tiernan O'Halloran and Andrew Browne both had to be replaced because of injury.
It was Ospreys who scored the opening try of the evening as winger Dafydd Howells did well to finish in the corner in the 18th minute following sustained pressure on the Connacht line.
Ronaldson kicked Connacht back into the lead five minutes later before the Irish province plundered a try just before half-time.
Flanker Eoghan Masterson managed to force his way over the line following good work from his pack and Ronaldson converted with the final kick before the break.
The Welsh side's hopes of overturning an eight-point deficit were severely dented in the 53rd minute when Hanno Dirksen was sin-binned for a late hit on Connacht scrum-half Caoilin Blade and Ronaldson landed the resulting penalty.
The home side increased their lead with their second try, which was created and finished by Farrell, to effectively seal the result.
Substitute Morgan-Williams grabbed a consolation score but Ronaldson made sure of the result with a late penalty that was brought into his range after the Ospreys were penalised for dissent.
Connacht: Tiernan O'Halloran, Cian Kelleher, Eoin Griffin, Tom Farrell, Matt Healy, Craig Ronaldson, Caolin Blade; Denis Coulson, Tom McCartney, Conor Carey, Andrew Browne, James Cannon, Eoghan Masterson, Naulia Dawai, John Muldoon (capt).
Replacements: Shane Delahunt (McCartney, 59), Peter McCabe (Coulson, 59), Dominic Robertson-McCoy (Carey, 58), Gavin Thornbury (Browne, 15), James Connolly (Masterson, 75), James Mitchell (Blade, 70), Jack Carty (Farrell, 72), Pita Ahki (O'Halloran, 8).
Ospreys: Dan Evans; Hanno Dirksen, Kieron Fonotia, Ashley Beck, Dafydd Howells; Sam Davies, Tom Habberfield; Rhodri Jones, Scott Otten, Dmitri Arhip, Lloyd Ashley, James King, Olly Cracknell, Will Jones, Rob McCusker (capt).
Replacements: Sam Parry (Otten, 49), Nicky Smith (Jones, 49), Ma'afu Fia (Arhip, 59) Guy Mercer (Ashley, 74), Sam Cross (Jones, 45), Reuben Morgan-Williams (Habberfield, 59), Luke Price, Joe Thomas (Howells, 49).
Referee: Stuart Berry (SARU)
Assistant referees: David Wilkinson (IRFU), John Carvill (IRFU)