Glasgow Through To Celtic League'S Last Four

Connacht 29, Glasgow 34Glasgow took a long, troubled road to the Celtic League semi-finals this afternoon. Victory against Connacht should have been a more comfortable run than it was at the Galway Sports Ground.A try-count of 4-2 was a closer reflection of Glasgow's control for much of the quarter-final. But the dogged Connacht hounded Glasgow right to the end, and the visitors had to hang on for a five-point win in a match that stretched to six minutes of added time.Relief was the immediate sensation at the end of an exciting contest. Exhilaration, however, soon followed as Glasgow and their vociferous support relished the prospect of an early return to Ireland for a semi-final against Leinster at Lansdowne Road on Friday evening.Twice Glasgow stretched their lead into double figures. Each time it ought to have been the catalyst for making the game secure. Twice, however, Connacht's terriers struck back.With only three minutes left in the first half, Glasgow led 20-9. Yet by half-time Connacht had pruned that margin to just one point, and late in the second half Glasgow were even further ahead at 34-22. Then a Wayne Munn try set up a desperate finale - eight minutes of rugby that looked as though it was being played on a pinball table, with the ball too often going where it was never intended."I always thought it would go that way," Richie Dixon, Glasgow's lead coach, commented after the match. "Here at the Sports Ground, Connacht know how to play for the jersey."He added that his team were "a little bit anxious" at times. "For 25 minutes in the first half we played tremendous rugby. Then we blew it. In the second half we had to do it all over again."However, Glasgow had the greater perseverance. They also dominated the touchline, with Jason White supreme, not only winning Glasgow throws but also stealing the occasional Connacht one as well. White was also in fine form in the loose, as was Gordon Simpson and Gordon Bulloch, the former making his mark in that respect by scoring the second Glasgow try.Tommy Hayes, Glasgow's stand-off, raised his Celtic League tally to three figures, his 19 points from a try, four conversions, and two penalty goals taking him up to 103. His opposite number, Eric Elwood, matched that haul of points with two conversions, four penalty goals, and first-minute drop goal. Despite a stiff downfield breeze, favouring Connacht in the first half, Elwood did not miss a kick at goal: Hayes scored with six of his seven place kicks.Elwood's drop goal laid down the challenge to Glasgow, and he quickly added a penalty goal for a 6-0 lead after only three minutes. Glasgow, however, responded after Gordon Simpson's kick ahead and Jon Steel's thrust into the right corner. Glasgow failed to capitalise on a scrum-five, but their first score was not long delayed as a long pass by Hayes prompted Jim McLaren to break past three opponents for a try. Hayes added the conversion.Elwood kicked his second penalty goal to restore Comanche's lead after 21 minutes. Glasgow replied almost immediately, with Andy Nicol's tapped penalty releasing Steel up the right touchline and White selling an extravagant dummy before charging in from more than 30 metres. Hayes converted and then kicked two penalty goals for a 20-9 lead after 33 minutes.That should have been the cue for Glasgow to hammer home their territorial command. Instead, they conceded ground, allowing Elwood to kick another penalty goal, and when Munn cut in off the blind side Connacht created a try for Ted Robinson in first-half injury time.Elwood's conversion cut the margin to 20-19, but Glasgow soon regained their composure after the interval. Twice thrusts by Rory Kerr, enjoying his outing at full back, initiated pressure on the home goal-line. Each time Glasgow failed off five-metre scrums. However, pressure on a Connacht goal-line scrummage produced a try, Nicol worrying Eoin Reddan into losing control of the ball and Gareth Flockhart pouncing for a try that Hayes converted.Glasgow lost Roland Reid to the sin-bin because of his failure to retire 10 metres at a penalty, and another Elwood penalty goal hauled Glasgow's lead back to five points after 57 minutes. It was then that the game's 100% goal-kicking record was broken - Hayes missed a penalty. But before Reid's return a break by Steel allowed Hayes to run in from 20 metres six minutes later. The stand-off's conversion stretched the margin to 12, and that should have been enough of a cushion for Glasgow but for Munn's try.After the match Richie Dixon, not only commenting on the game, paid tribute to the band of close on 100 Glasgow supporters who had made the journey to Galway. They were well rewarded.Connacht - Gavin Duffy; Ted Redman, Darren Yapp, Tim Allnutt, Wayne Munn; Eric Elwood, Eoin Reddan; Dan McFarland, Tom Kearns, Ronan McCormack, Damien Browne, Rowan Frost, Junior Charlie, Johnny O"Connor, Michael Swift. Substitutes - Paul Neville for Charlie (half-time), Peter Bracken for McCormack (51 minutes), Joe McVeigh for Kearns (51), Colm Rigny for Swift (53),Kearns for McVeigh (72).Scorers: Tries, Robinson, Munn; conversions, Elwood (2); penalty goals, Elwood (4); drop goal, Elwood.Glasgow - Rory Kerr; Jonathan Steel, James McLaren, Andy Henderson, Michael Bartlett; Tommy Hayes, Andy Nicol (captain); Gordon McIlwham, Gordon Bulloch, Lee Harrison, Nathan Ross, Jason White, Gordon Simpson, Gareth Flockhart, Roland Reid. Substitutes - Alan Bulloch for McLaren (63), Steve Griffiths for Ross (72), Euan Murray for Harrison (72).Scorers: Tries, Flockhart, Hayes, McLaren, White; conversions, Hayes (4); penalty goals, Hayes (2).Referee - Nigel Whitehouse (Wales).Connacht 29, Glasgow 34Glasgow took a long, troubled road to the Celtic League semi-finals this afternoon. Victory against Connacht should have been a more comfortable run than it was at the Galway Sports Ground.A try-count of 4-2 was a closer reflection of Glasgow's control for much of the quarter-final. But the dogged Connacht hounded Glasgow right to the end, and the visitors had to hang on for a five-point win in a match that stretched to six minutes of added time.Relief was the immediate sensation at the end of an exciting contest. Exhilaration, however, soon followed as Glasgow and their vociferous support relished the prospect of an early return to Ireland for a semi-final against Leinster at Lansdowne Road on Friday evening.Twice Glasgow stretched their lead into double figures. Each time it ought to have been the catalyst for making the game secure. Twice, however, Connacht's terriers struck back.With only three minutes left in the first half, Glasgow led 20-9. Yet by half-time Connacht had pruned that margin to just one point, and late in the second half Glasgow were even further ahead at 34-22. Then a Wayne Munn try set up a desperate finale - eight minutes of rugby that looked as though it was being played on a pinball table, with the ball too often going where it was never intended."I always thought it would go that way," Richie Dixon, Glasgow's lead coach, commented after the match. "Here at the Sports Ground, Connacht know how to play for the jersey."He added that his team were "a little bit anxious" at times. "For 25 minutes in the first half we played tremendous rugby. Then we blew it. In the second half we had to do it all over again."However, Glasgow had the greater perseverance. They also dominated the touchline, with Jason White supreme, not only winning Glasgow throws but also stealing the occasional Connacht one as well. White was also in fine form in the loose, as was Gordon Simpson and Gordon Bulloch, the former making his mark in that respect by scoring the second Glasgow try.Tommy Hayes, Glasgow's stand-off, raised his Celtic League tally to three figures, his 19 points from a try, four conversions, and two penalty goals taking him up to 103. His opposite number, Eric Elwood, matched that haul of points with two conversions, four penalty goals, and first-minute drop goal. Despite a stiff downfield breeze, favouring Connacht in the first half, Elwood did not miss a kick at goal: Hayes scored with six of his seven place kicks.Elwood's drop goal laid down the challenge to Glasgow, and he quickly added a penalty goal for a 6-0 lead after only three minutes. Glasgow, however, responded after Gordon Simpson's kick ahead and Jon Steel's thrust into the right corner. Glasgow failed to capitalise on a scrum-five, but their first score was not long delayed as a long pass by Hayes prompted Jim McLaren to break past three opponents for a try. Hayes added the conversion.Elwood kicked his second penalty goal to restore Comanche's lead after 21 minutes. Glasgow replied almost immediately, with Andy Nicol's tapped penalty releasing Steel up the right touchline and White selling an extravagant dummy before charging in from more than 30 metres. Hayes converted and then kicked two penalty goals for a 20-9 lead after 33 minutes.That should have been the cue for Glasgow to hammer home their territorial command. Instead, they conceded ground, allowing Elwood to kick another penalty goal, and when Munn cut in off the blind side Connacht created a try for Ted Robinson in first-half injury time.Elwood's conversion cut the margin to 20-19, but Glasgow soon regained their composure after the interval. Twice thrusts by Rory Kerr, enjoying his outing at full back, initiated pressure on the home goal-line. Each time Glasgow failed off five-metre scrums. However, pressure on a Connacht goal-line scrummage produced a try, Nicol worrying Eoin Reddan into losing control of the ball and Gareth Flockhart pouncing for a try that Hayes converted.Glasgow lost Roland Reid to the sin-bin because of his failure to retire 10 metres at a penalty, and another Elwood penalty goal hauled Glasgow's lead back to five points after 57 minutes. It was then that the game's 100% goal-kicking record was broken - Hayes missed a penalty. But before Reid's return a break by Steel allowed Hayes to run in from 20 metres six minutes later. The stand-off's conversion stretched the margin to 12, and that should have been enough of a cushion for Glasgow but for Munn's try.After the match Richie Dixon, not only commenting on the game, paid tribute to the band of close on 100 Glasgow supporters who had made the journey to Galway. They were well rewarded.Connacht - Gavin Duffy; Ted Redman, Darren Yapp, Tim Allnutt, Wayne Munn; Eric Elwood, Eoin Reddan; Dan McFarland, Tom Kearns, Ronan McCormack, Damien Browne, Rowan Frost, Junior Charlie, Johnny O"Connor, Michael Swift. Substitutes - Paul Neville for Charlie (half-time), Peter Bracken for McCormack (51 minutes), Joe McVeigh for Kearns (51), Colm Rigny for Swift (53),Kearns for McVeigh (72).Scorers: Tries, Robinson, Munn; conversions, Elwood (2); penalty goals, Elwood (4); drop goal, Elwood.Glasgow - Rory Kerr; Jonathan Steel, James McLaren, Andy Henderson, Michael Bartlett; Tommy Hayes, Andy Nicol (captain); Gordon McIlwham, Gordon Bulloch, Lee Harrison, Nathan Ross, Jason White, Gordon Simpson, Gareth Flockhart, Roland Reid. Substitutes - Alan Bulloch for McLaren (63), Steve Griffiths for Ross (72), Euan Murray for Harrison (72).Scorers: Tries, Flockhart, Hayes, McLaren, White; conversions, Hayes (4); penalty goals, Hayes (2).Referee - Nigel Whitehouse (Wales).