Belfast Telegraph

Five try Ulster finish off year with a bang

Top gear: Ulster’s Billy Burns breezes past Peter Robb to score his side’s second try
Top gear: Ulster’s Billy Burns breezes past Peter Robb to score his side’s second try

By Michael Sadlier

Ulster ended the year and decade on a high after seeing off Irish rivals Connacht by a whopping 35-3 in a five-try bonus point victory at Kingspan last night.

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The result also means that Dan McFarland's side have now gone 18 games unbeaten - 17 wins and one draw - at the Kingspan Stadium, doing more than enough to ensure that their home ground maintains its reputation as a fortress ahead of Munster's visit next Friday for the first game of 2020.

Tries from Alan O'Connor, Billy Burns, Robert Baloucoune, skipper Rob Herring and Nick Timoney got a sold-out Kingspan rocking and brought Dan McFarland's side their first Irish derby win of the season after losing at Leinster and Munster.

Ulster led 14-3 after a tense opening half which had seen O'Connor and Burns cross the Connacht line. But it wasn't one-way traffic for the home side who had to put in a huge defensive shift in the first40 minutes.

The second half saw Ulster turn up the heat for the 17,000 crowd. Baloucoune's 44th minute try was followed soon afterwards by Herring barrelling over the line to lay claim to the bonus point after just returning from a first half yellow card.

John Cooney converted all four tries with Bill Johnston adding the two points in the aftermath of Timoney's late score over the well-beaten westerners.

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