Picture: @PRO14Official/Twitter

Galway, Ireland – Connacht replacement Tom Farrell scored an 86th minute try to clinch a thrilling 24-22 Pro14 win over the Cheetahs in Galway on Saturday.

Coming into this clash, the Cheetahs had claimed a maximum haul of 15 log points from three games to top Conference A based on points difference.

Over the start of the season, the Free State side have shown every indication that they could well be contenders for the Pro14 title this season after winning the Currie Cup not that long ago.

Outgoing coach Franco Smith had led the Cheetahs through their first three games, and this was the first match in charge for incoming Hawies Fourie, and sadly it ended in disappointment.

Early in the second half, it looked as if the Cheetahs were staring down a first defeat of the campaign, but then came two standout tries from Rhyno Smith and Clayton Blommetjies to send the Cheetahs into a commanding lead.

The drama was far from over, though, as Dries Swanepoel was shown a red card, and almost immediately after, Connact hit back to reduce the deficit to just three points.

In the thrilling final minutes, Connacht opted against going for three points and a draw, and instead went for the scrum in search of a stunning victory.

As it turned out, it was a brave and rewarding decision as Farrell went over to score and claim a memorable triumph for the hosts.

Scorers: Connacht 24 (14): Tries: Niyi Adeolokun, Kieran Marmion, Tom Farrell (2). Conversions: Conor Fitzgerald (2).

Cheetahs 22 (55): Tries: Joseph Dweba, Rhyno Smith, Clayton Blommetjies. Conversions: Ruan Pienaar (2). Penalty: Pienaar.

African News Agency/ANA