Connacht's hopes of completing a hat-trick of victories over Cardiff came unstuck at the Arms Park on Saturday in a cracking encounter which produced six tries.
Cardiff, starting with ten full internationals, were hoping to bounce back after an opening day defeat to Glasgow and finally get a win over Connacht in the Celtic League having been put to the sword in each of the last two seasons.
Connacht will be disappointed not to at least have picked up one bonus point after a performance that was considerably better than that which they produced to defeat Edinburgh at the Sportsground the previous week.
From the outset both sides displayed a great willingness to run the ball and throughout the 3,500 crowd got great value for money as play swung from end to end.
Connacht got a perfect start when strong pressure saw scrum-half Chris Keane make the crucial break outside the 22 to send John OÂ¹Sullivan sliding in for the opening try after eight minutes.
CardiffÂ¹s Nick Robinson, who went on to land seven out of seven kicks,pulled back the deficit with a penalty before centre Nick Macleod went over for an excellent try after some great ball handling by the home side.
Connacht responded with an equally excellent try, spraying the ball wide from the left for Mark McHugh to set up Conor McPhillips who did well to ground the ball in the right corner to put Connacht 12-10 ahead 24 minutes.
But Cardiff hit back and a try by Jamie Robinson, coupled with accurate boot of his younger brother Nick, saw Cardiff lead 23-12 at the break with strong
Connacht pressure before the break crucially failing to yield a score. Robinson landed a penalty for Cardiff ten minutes after the restart as
Connacht withstoord enormous pressure and at the other end the home defence was equally strong as Connacht piled on the pressure.
But Cardiff wrapped up the issue after 55 minutes when Dean Dewdney scored in the left corner.
Connacht responded with McPhillips getting in for a quality try in the right corner. After that both sides piled on the pressure in search of a bonus point for scoring four tries but both defences were superb during the closing stages.
Connacht, away for three weekends running, travel to Scotland to take on The Borders in a Celtic Cup match at Galashiels which will be shown live on TG4 next Friday night as they bid to build on the encouraging display at the Arms Park.
Cardiff: D van Vuuren; N. Walne, J. Robinson, N. Macleod, D. Dewdney; N. Robinson, A. Moore; K. Fourie, A. Lewis, B. Evans; D. McShane, A. Moore; R. Appleyard, J. Malpas, D. Baugh.
Connacht: M. McHugh; C. McPhillips, D. Yapp, T. Allnutt, W. Munn; E. Elwood, C. Keane; W. OÂ¹Kelly, B. Jackman, A. Clarke; D. Browne, A. Farley; M. Swift, J. OÂ¹Sullivan, M. Lacey.
Replacements: D. Hewitt for Allnutt, 54 mins; C. OÂ¹Loughlin for Keane, 64 mins; F. Boiroux for OÂ¹Kelly, 64 mins; M. Carroll for Lacey, 64 mins; M.McCarthy for Swift, 65 mins; J. Fogarty for Jackman, 70 mins.
Referee: R. Dickson (Scotland).