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The Dail Bar

The Clan gathered in The Dáil Bar on Friday for Connacht's first away assignment of the season in Murrayfield

Several members of the Connacht Clan are rumoured to have written to BBC Alba after the corresponding fixture last season to thank them personally for not televising that particular horror show, so after the now almost traditional opening day victory, the Clan corner of the Dáil Bar was a mixture of exuberant optimism and crippling fear as we debated the small matter of what language to watch the match in. Alba offered high definition coverage but eventually it was decided that the overhead of learning Scots Gaelic would be too much for a Friday night so Máire Treasa got the nod.

After shipping six early points and missing a couple of kicks themselves, Connacht seemed to have gathered some momentum and were mentally in the tunnel at all square when Cornell Du Preez was allowed to canter into the corner, with the impressively accurate Tom Heathcote striking from the tee again for a seven point lead.

When Rob Murphy of looked for some half-time Clan reaction for his excellent Craggy Island Rugby podcast, it was hard to find an optimistic voice after that body blow. There were some positives, of course. The scrum was solid, particularly on the Edinburgh put-it, but the missed place kicks and some handling errors were a source of frustration.

After pegging it back to four points there followed a half hour of pulling hair and shouting at the telly, confusing the poor Germans who had innocently sat beneath it. Willy landed himself in the sin bin, and all seemed lost, then he landed himself back out of it and over the line and all seemed forgotten again. A second win on the bounce and finding ourselves somewhere near the summit of the table left a happy Dáil.

Post match discussion though was tinged with relief and a sense of having gotten away with it somehow, and that view was also reflected in analysis on the Clan forum late into the night. That there seemed to be too many errors that would be punished by superior teams and that we got the rub of the green on some of the refereeing decisions was something of a consensus, though the main sentiment was one of delight with the result. Some gripes were the quality of the passing, the handling errors, the lapse that led to the try at the end of the first half and the place-kicking. The squad seemed to share some of those views, with Pat Lam expressing his own frustration and describing "quite a sombre dressing room".

Others however were almost shocked that there was negative reaction to the performance from some quarters, and as the weekend went on, more praise than criticism emerged in the opinions expressed online. Mick Kearney impressed many, as did Denis Buckley, all round tackling was good with very few missed, and the fact that Connacht reacted to the first half try to keep Edinburgh scoreless in the second half attracted praise, particularly from those that still wake up in cold sweats thinking of the last twenty minutes of last season's trip to Murrayfield.

The league champions come West next week. Eoin Reddan has Connacht as favourites, which is viewed as a good reason not to invest in his bookmaking business if he ever asks you. There will need to be an improvement in the handling as the men in green will probably not be able to rely on scrum alchemy to turn knock-ons into penalties as they did against the Gunners; the Leinster pack will not give it up so easily. Having lost their opening fixture, they had a bit of a try-fest against the Scarlets and will arrive with some momentum, but they've come unstuck here before, and the Clan will have some reason to hope we can make it three in a row.

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