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Connacht’s Challenge Cup Interest Ended.

24th April 2005 By Munster Rugby

Connacht’s Challenge Cup Interest Ended.

Connacht s hopes of a place in the Challenge Cup final were crushed this afternoon in Edgeley Park when they were beaten 59-9 by Sale Sharks.

Connacht s hopes of a place in the Challenge Cup final and their final chance of perhaps claiming a place in next year s Heineken Cup, were crushed this afternoon in Edgeley Park when they were beaten 59-9 by Sale Sharks.

After a bright enough opening when two Paul Warwick penalties had them 6-3 in front, Connacht conceded the first of three opening half tries when they coughed up their own five metre put-in for Bryan Redpath to feed Charlie Hodgson who dotted down in the corner.

Just after that Christian Short was yellow-carded for blatant handling on the ground and while he was warming the bench Sale added 13 points thanks to a Jason Robinson drop goal and a converted Andy Titterell try.

Then in injury time a loose pass on half-way handed possession to Chris Jones and he released Steve Hanley who sped away for another seven pointer that left Connacht trailing 31-9 at the break.

Whatever slim hopes Connacht might have entertained of forcing their way back were totally vanquished when Mark Cueto crossed for two tries in the opening ten minutes of the second half and Sale passed the half-century when Hodgson added the points to Jason White s 58th minute try.

Sale looked certain to add to their tally when replacement Richard Wigglesworth angled for the corner only to be denied by a marvellous cover tackle from Eric Elwood but three minutes from the end a steal and then delightful reverse pass from Fernanadez Lobbe sent Cueto clear for his third try with Wigglesworth s conversion ending the scoring in what ultimately was a one-sided contest.

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