Pro12: Connacht 8-16 Leinster
CONNACHT (8) 8
- Tries: Carr
- Pens: Carty
LEINSTER (3) 16
- Tries: D'Arcy
- Cons: Gopperth
- Pens: Madigan, Gopperth 2
Leinster fought back from five points down at half-time to beat Connacht in the Pro12 Irish derby in Galway.
Robbie Henshaw's break set up a first-half try for Fionn Carr as Connacht led 8-3 at half-time with Jack Carty and Ian Madigan swapping penalties.
Two Jimmy Gopperth penalties edged Leinster ahead and Gordon D'Arcy's 73rd-minute try sealed their victory.
The win moves Leinster back to second in the table while Connacht drop to the bottom after Zebre's win over Treviso.
The home team took the lead in the 22nd minute as Brian O'Driscoll's rushed defence move backfired and allowed Henshaw the space to charge past Dave Kearney before setting up ex-Leinster man Carr to score in the corner.
Connacht fly-half Carty was just off target with the difficult conversion but the youngster, on his first start, was showing an admirable ability to get his backs moving when the opportunity presented itself.
Leinster pressure did yield three points from Madigan in the 36th minute but the margin was back at five after Carty replied on the stroke of half-time.
The Connacht defence held firm for most of the third quarter before Gopperth, by now on for Madigan, cut the home team's lead to two points on 57 minutes.
Gopperth had been joined on the field by the likes of Mike Ross, Isaac Boss and Dominic Ryan and the Leinster changes told during the remainder of the contest.
Cramp led to the departures of Carty and his fellow young back Darragh Leader around the hour mark with veteran Dan Parks taking the fly-half role.
After Gopperth had nudged Leinster one point ahead on 62 minutes, Parks did have the chance to restore Connacht's lead four minutes later but was off target from around 35 metres.
Connacht had plenty of possession over the next five minutes but never seriously threatened to regain the lead.
In contrast, Leinster had penetration and Jamie Heaslip's half-break in the 73rd minute was finished off by Gopperth's off-load for D'Arcy to score under the posts.
There was a hint of a forward pass but the video referee adjudged the replays to be inconclusive as the score was awarded by referee George Clancy.
Gopperth's conversion left Connacht without even a bonus point as the evening ended in dispiriting fashion for the home side.
Connacht: D Leader; F Carr, R Henshaw, E Griffin, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion; B Wilkinson, J Harris-Wright, N White, M Kearney, C Clarke (capt), A Browne, J Muldoon, E McKeon.
Replacements: D Buckley for Wilkinson 57, R Ah You for White 43, M Swift for Kearney 70, G Naoupu for McKeon 76, P O'Donohoe for Marmion 71, D Parks for Carty 60, T O'Halloran for Leader 67.
Not used: Heffernan
Leinster: R Kearney; Z Kirchner, B O'Driscoll, G D'Arcy, D Kearney; I Madigan, E Reddan; J McGrath, S Cronin, M Moore, D Toner, T Denton, R Ruddock, J Murphy, J Heaslip (capt).
Replacements: A Dundon for Cronin 70, J O'Connell for McGrath 76, M Ross for Moore 47, M McCarthy for Denton 41, D Ryan for Ruddock 54, I Boss for Reddan 54, J Gopperth for Madigan 54.