Ulster finished their Magners League season in style on Friday with a comprehensive 41-10 dismantling of Connacht at Ravenhill.
Ulster finished off their Magners League campaignin style on Friday with a comprehensive 41-10 dismantling of Connacht at Ravenhill.
Tries from Simon Danielli, Ian Humphreys, replacement Andi Kyriacou, Ian Whitten, Dan Tuohy and Jamie Smith brought the home side back-to-back league wins.
It finishes off what has been a disappointing season for Brian McLaughlin's squad, although they were too strong for Connacht on their coach Michael Bradley's last game in charge.
The only low point was a suspected ankle injury to Rory Best which saw the Ireland hooker leave the field early in the second half and could have an impact on Ireland's tour to New Zealand and Australia next month.
Connacht outside-half Ian Keatley opened the scoring with an early penalty and the visitors stayed in the lead for the opening 20 minutes after Humphreys missed a straightforward penalty.
Ulster, though, grabbed the lead after winger Danielli somehow got on the end of his own kick through. Humphreys was unable to convert.
The Ulster outside-half made amends for his early miss with the boot when he got on the end of a charge-down off Keatley and stepped inside the scrambling Connacht defence to dot down at the posts, then managed to add the extras to give Ulster a 12-3 lead.
Keatley was then wide with a rather hopeful 51-metre penalty effort and Ulster looked comfortable until just about the last play of the half when prop Ronan Loughney powered over the home side's line from a lineout.
Keatley's conversion ensured that the western province trailed Ulster by only two points at the turnaround.
However, Ulster struck first after the restart following Best's departure with what appeared to be an ankle injury, when his replacement Kyriacou barged over after a great surge from Andrew Trimble.
Humphreys nailed the conversion to give Ulster a 19-10 lead and five minutes later they sealed their bonus point when centre Whitten burst through the Connacht midfield and scored at the posts.
Humphreys took advantage of the straightforward conversion to put Ulster 16 points ahead, then stretched Ulster's lead to 29-10 with a penalty four minutes before the hour mark.
At the end, second row Tuohy was put clear by replacement prop Bryan Young with Humphreys adding the extras, before a miserable night for Connacht was compounded when Smith made the left corner in injury-time.
Tries: Danielli, Humphreys, Kyriacou, Whitten, Tuohy, Smith
Cons: Humphreys 3, O'Connor
Ulster: 15 Jamie Smith, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Simon Danielli, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Robbie Diack, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 Chris Henry, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Ed O'Donoghue, 3 BJ Both, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Andi Kyriacou, 17 Bryan Young, 18 Ryan Caldwell, 19 TJ Anderson, 20 Isaac Boss, 21 Niall O'Connor, 22 Timoci Nagusa.
Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Brian Tuohy, 13 Niva Ta'auso, 12 Aidan Wynne, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Frank Murphy, 8 George Naoupu, 7 Mike McComish, 6 John Muldoon (capt), 5 Michael McCarthy, 4 Bernie Upton, 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Ronan Loughney.
Replacements: 16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Robbie Morris, 18 Adrian Browne, 19 Jonny O'Connor, 20 Conor O'Loughlin, 21 Miah Nikora, 22 Troy Nathan, 23 Robbie Morris.
Referee: Dudley Phillips (IRFU)