- Result: Galwegians Firsts 12 - Buccaneers 24
- Venue: Dubarry Park on Fri Nov 18th 2016
- Competition: AIL Division 1B
Galwegians suffered another loss in UBL Division 1B, this time away to League leaders and local rivals Buccaneers night at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Friday night. It was another good performance from Galwegians who were given no chance by the pundits coming into this contest, yet despite their best efforts they came away empty-handed for only the second time this season.
Played in the cold November air in the showery conditions with a resultant soft surface, the exchanges were a lot hotter than the weather. Buccs lived up to their favourites tag early doors as they took a firm grip on proceedings, penning the Blues deep in their own half. It took the hosts 15 minutes before their first real chance evolved when Alan Gaughan was stopped close to the Wegians line. Then from the resulting five-metre scrum, scrum-half Conor McKeon dummied and darted through for a smartly taken try, which Gaughan converted.
Seven minutes later, Luke Carty found an excellent touch on the right and as Wegians were unable to clear their lines, Buccs’ powerful centre Mata Fifita thundered through for their second try. Gaughan duly converted and, following further intense pressure by the midlanders, the outhalf drilled over a 33rd minute penalty to put Buccaneers 17-0 to the good, and looking well poised to go on and secure another comfortable victory.
However, Wegians are nothing if not resilient, and they hung in there when the game looked like it might be running away from them. Then with their first meaningful attack of the opening half, they put doubt in the hosts by opening their scoring account.. Substitute Doron McHugh made an immediate impact as he finished off a move by crossing near the posts. Aidan Moynihan’s conversion left the scoreboard reading 17-7 at half-time.
Bostered by this, the Blues took the game to the opposition at the start of the second-half. They hauled themselves right back into contention with a second try, which was the best of the match. Some deft handling by their lively backline saw them move the ball left to right, with lock forward Anthony Ryan selling a sweet dummy before diving over for an unconverted try near the corner.
This made the League leaders much more nervy, knowing they were now in a contest, and from here onwards it was a much more evenly contested affair.
However, Buccaneers resettled to enjoy another spell of promising pressure that was eventually rewarded when Eoghan O’Reilly finished off a further wave of Pirates attacks for a 57th minute try wide on the right. Gaughan converted to complete the scoring. Both sides went in search of a bonus point, but try as they might, neither could add to their tally.