The lopsided rolls of honour (from the European Rugby Champions and Challenge Cups, the Pro12 and Irish Interprovincial Rugby Championship) go some way to showing how significant Connacht’s maiden Pro12/Celtic title during the 2015/16 seasons was when comparing it with their border rivals.

Even in the early years the relationship between Connacht and the other three Irish provinces seemed unfair, with Leinster, Munster and Ulster formed in 1879 when the Irish Rugby Football Union was created.

Six years later Ballinasloe, Castlebar, Galway Town, Galway Grammar School, Queen's College Galway and Ranelagh School Athlone would meet in Dublin and the Connacht Rugby Union was written into existence.

Connacht’s initial success came when they won the Irish Interprovincial Rugby Championship in 1957, a period that was one of the golden ages (perhaps the first) for the game in Ireland.

International victories over Australia, England, Wales and France in Irish colours over this time led to an explosion of local interest which extended from Munster through to the ‘Devil’s Own’ (a laconic reference to the Connacht region being filled with players of such quality only the Devil would accept them) – with the latter stamping their authority on the rugby scene.

What is remarkable is that Connacht’s last title, claiming the Irish Interprovincial Rugby Championship in 1965, had until this year been the start of a five decade plus championship drought for the men in the West.

John Muldoon, that bearded menace of a man who terrorised the fields of the most recent Pro12 competition, lifted the trophy after the men from Connacht had stormed through the Celtic fields of battle to claim ultimate glory.

It was title number four in 131 years for the region.

Coach Pat Lam, who been part of five title winning Auckland teams (three as a player, two as coach) and two separate Ranfurly Shield reigns helped ensure Connacht Rugby won 17 matches during the 2015/16 season to become the seventh Celtic region/province to win the Pro12 championship.

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