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Connacht Remain One Point Clear
12 December 2006, 8:44 am
By Chris Byrne
Going into this afternoon's clash with Leinster, Munster remain one point behind Connacht who went down 20-10 in Ravenhill last night.
Connacht will be disappointed to have left the north with nothing to show for a hugely competitive and gutsy performance. And they will be particularly disappointed with the lead up to Ulster's final try that ultimately denied them the bonus point they richly deserved.

It came at a late stage of the game when Connacht were pressing, trailing 15-10. Tommy Bowe fashioned a break out to lift the siege and when collared, threw what looked a very forward pass to Rory Best. Play then ended up on the stand side touchline and again Ulster looked to have knocked on before play was allowed continue for Neil Best to get the final score.

Despite the disappointment however Connacht showed enough to suggest that they will fancy their chances of putting further distance between themselves and the chasing Munster when the sides meet at The Sportsground on New Year's Eve.

How they go into that game will of course be determined by circumstances today in Thomond Park. Leinster visit for the first time since 1995 when they emerged winners as they did on their last visit to Limerick (Dooradoyle) in 1998 when they were coached by Mike Ruddock.

And on foot of recent performances in Agen and Ulster, the Leinster lads will fancy their chances. Coach Michael Cheika has left his options open in six postions including out-half where Felipe Contepomi is bracketed with Johnny Sexton. The Argentine is unlikely to start however with Sexton the likely starter and Andy Dunne on the bench.

Making a return to Thomond Park will be crowd favourites when they were with Munster and Shannon, Trevor Hogan and Stephen Keogh, and both will have a major influence on the outcome of this game.

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