Pro14: Connacht 29-0 Cardiff Blues
|Pro14: Connacht v Cardiff Blues|
|Connacht (15) 29|
|Tries: Heffernan, Robb, Porch, Godwin Cons: Carty 3 Pen: Carty|
|Cardiff Blues (0) 0|
Connacht eased past Cardiff Blues to secure a Pro14 bonus-point win.
An early Jack Carty penalty and tries from hooker Dave Heffernan and centre Peter Robb gave the hosts a deserved 15-0 half-time lead.
Wing John Porch and centre Kyle Godwin crossed after the break with Carty converting both to seal a comfortable victory.
Man-of-the-match Heffernan, released by Ireland in the week, was excellent for an hour before being replaced.
Connacht remain fourth in Conference B but have opened up a six-point lead on the fifth-placed Blues, to significantly boost their hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions Cup.
All the early pressure at the Sportsground came from Connacht, but with the Blues clinging on with key tackles and turnovers, the hosts only had a Carty penalty to show for their efforts.
The breakthrough eventually came on 27 minutes with Heffernan running in from 15 metres after gathering an overthrown Blues lineout to claim the night's opening try.
A second try then came five minutes later with Robb collecting a Carty grubber kick to touch down out wide and give the home side a comfortable lead at the break.
Blues made changes early in the second-half but could not halt the hosts with Porch scoring Connacht's third on 50 minutes after a lovely behind the back offload from replacement prop Denis Buckley.
With the Blues trying hard to get back into the game, and with a rare foray into the Connacht 22, they spilled possession and handed their opponents a fourth try with Australian international Godwin running in unopposed with 20 minutes still to play.
In deteriorating conditions, the home side saw out the final quarter and frustrated the visitors who now face a trip back across the Irish Sea empty-handed.
Connacht: T O'Halloran; J Porch, K Godwin, P Robb, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion: P McAllister, D Heffernan, F Bealham, U Dillane, G Thornbury, P Boyle, C Fainga'a, J Butler (capt).
Replacements: S Delahunt, D Buckley, D Robertson-McCoy, J Maksymiw, E McKeon, C Blade, C Fitzgerald, T Daly.
Cardiff Blues: D Fish; J Harries, R Lee-Lo, G Smith, H Amos; J Tovey, L Williams (capt); R Gill, L Belcher, D Arhip, F Paulo, J Ratti, J Turnbull, O Robinson, W Boyde.
Replacements: K Dacey, C Domachowski, S Andrews, S Davies, N Williams, L Jones, B Thomas, R Edwards.
Referee: Stuart Berry (SARU)
Assistants: Sean Gallagher (IRFU) & Dan Carson (IRFU)
TMO: Charles Samson (SRU).