London Irish 22 Sale Sharks 20 match report: Irish end season in style as departing back James O'Connor shines in 10-point comeback

Irish trailed 20-10 shortly after the break but two tries from Andy Fenby as well as England wing Marland Yarde helped Irish end in winning ways

London Irish ended their Aviva Premiership season in style by turning around a 10-point deficit to defeat sixth-placed Sale 22-20.

Irish trailed 20-10 early in the second half but produced a strong performance after the break to stun their visitors who had looked in control of match.

Andy Fenby scored two tries while Marland Yarde also went over for the Exiles with James O'Connor kicking a penalty and and two conversions.

O'Connor also provided two scoring passes and Irish's win would have been greater had he been more accurate off the kicking tee.

Sale scored first-half tries through Mark Easter and Tom Arscott with Joe Ford kicking two penalties and two conversions.

Irish included the exiting Yarde and O'Connor for their final games for the club while Shane Geraghty returned at fly-half to captain the side.

For Sale, Henry Thomas and James Gaskell were in the starting line-up for their last appearances before departing for Bath and Wasps respectively.

Danny Cipriani rested a foot injury so Ford was at stand-off to partner Will Cliff and David Seymour led the team in the absence of injured captain Dan Braid.

Sale started strongly, winning a couple of penalties to secure a platform in the home 22. A driving line-out put Irish on the back foot allowing Easter to crash over for the try which Ford converted.

But Irish were level within two minutes. Ofisa Treviranus ran powerfully to open up the Sale defence before a well-timed pass from O'Connor gave Fenby the chance to evade a weak tackle from Arscott and race away to score. O'Connor added the extras.

Irish had the better of the opening quarter and should have been ahead at the end of it but O'Connor was wide with a straightforward penalty attempt.

Sale regained the lead against the run of play as Irish carelessly lost possession. Cliff made a neat break to send Jonny Leota into space before the centre provided the scoring pass for Arscott.

Ford converted before he exchanged penalties with O'Connor to leave Sale 17-10 ahead at half-time.

Ford then extended that advantage with his second penalty before Sale carelessly conceded a second try.

The visitors lost a line-out on halfway, giving the hosts an opportunity to attack, and they moved the ball wide before another well-timed pass from O'Connor gave Yarde a chance to cruise past more weak tackling from Sale.

O'Connor converted with a splendid touchline kick to further reduce the arrears.

An illegal shoulder charge from Exiles replacement prop Tom Smallbone on Arscott allowed Sale to take play into the opposition 22 but the visitors were unable to take advantage as they declined kickable penalties in favour of more attacking options which came to nothing.

Sale were then made to pay as Irish burst away with Treviranus and Yarde making big contributions to a movement which ended with Fenby running elusively for an excellent try.

O'Connor failed with the simple conversion but Irish led 22-20 with 15 minutes remaining.

Sale should have been back in front but replacement Nick Macloed missed a kickable penalty and Sale's chance had gone.

O'Connor missed two late penalty chances but Irish had done enough to claim the win.

PA

Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable