Ua Conchobair, Cathal Carrach (d. 1202), son of Conchobar Máenmaige (qv) and overking of Connacht, belonged to the dynasty of Síl Muiredaig. There is no mention of either his mother or his wife, but he had a brother Mathgamain (who was killed by the Loíches in 1189) and appears to have had at least one son, whose name is not recorded. Cathal's sobriquet Carrach (‘scabby’) perhaps indicates that he had some skin disorder. While still a very young man, he came to prominence during the ‘war of the rígdamnae’ in 1185, supporting his father Conchobar Máenmaige in the struggle against his grandfather Ruaidrí (qv) and his great-uncle Cathal Crobderg (qv). In the course of his father's punitive offensive against Domnall Mór Ua Briain (qv), who had lent support to his grandfather, Cathal Carrach pillaged Killaloe. When his father was assassinated four years later (1189), Cathal avenged his death by killing the instigator, a kinsman named Conchobar ua nDiarmata. However, after his great-uncle Cathal Crobderg secured his claims to provincial overkingship, relationships between the two again deteriorated. An uneasy peace was established in 1199, as a result of which Cathal Carrach was granted lands in southern Connacht. The following year, he was attacked by Cathal Crobderg – an apparently unprovoked action, which opened renewed intra-dynastic warfare within Síl Muiredaig and, even more significantly, led to increased English involvement in Connacht affairs. Cathal Carrach repulsed an initial attack by retainers of Cathal Crobderg, but realised only too well that he could not withstand a full onslaught by his great-uncle's forces. Making an agreement with William de Burgh (qv), at this time the English governor of Limerick, to whom he gave his own young son as a pledge, he secured reinforcements from the latter and from Ua Briain of Thomond. In agreeing to assist Cathal Carrach, de Burgh had his own agenda; aside from a personal grudge against Cathal Crobderg, there was the important matter of a speculative grant of Connacht previously made to him by John (qv), lord of Ireland, which he was anxious to have realised. With these allies, Cathal invaded Connacht and overran several southern sub-kingdoms, which yielded hostages. His great-uncle having fled northwards, the rest of the province was quickly overawed, and with English support he was promoted as nominal overking. He took hostages from most of the remaining sub-kings, including Mac Diarmata of Mag Luirg.
In 1201 he blocked an attempt by his great-uncle to invade Connacht with assistance from Airgialla, defeating them at Eas Dara and killing the king of Airgialla. Subsequently, at An Forbhar, he repulsed another invasion-attempt which was supported by John de Courcy (qv) and drove the invaders eastwards across Lough Ree. However, in a third encounter near Corr Sliaib (the pass of the Curlew mountains) in 1202, he was defeated and slain – this time by an alliance involving de Burgh of Limerick. The provincial kingship was retaken by his great-uncle, in whose family line it mostly remained.