- Result: Galwegians Firsts 13 - Naas 18
- Venue: Forenaughts on Sat Sep 17th 2016
- Competition: AIL Division 1B
Galwegians got their Ulster Bank All-Ireland League off to a disappointing start when they went down away to newly promoted Naas who rallied with two late penalties to seal victory at Forenaughts on Saturday.
The opening half was fairly evenly balanced and the deadlock was broken by Naas on the half hour mark. It came from their star signing and former Connacht winger Fionn Carr who went on a mesmerising run to dot down for the game’s opening try, only to expose some poor Wegians defence. The try was unconverted, however Wegians responded well and minutes later they opened their account when new recruit, out-half Mitch Lam struck an excellent penalty from the 10m line.
Wegians were unlucky to lose full back Adam Leavy to injury, necessitating a backline reshuffle. New head coach Brian McClearn would have been happy to take a 5-3 deficit into the break, but disaster struck on the stroke of half-time when they shipped a very soft score. It came following a block down which allowed powerful centre Henry Bryce cross the whitewash to touch down for his side’s second try. Scrum-half Peter Osborne converted to give his side the relative comfort of a slightly flattering 12-3 lead at the break.
Wegians struggled to gain any continuity, but they did reduce the margin when Lam landed another good penalty on 47 minutes to make it 12-6. The assistant coach was off the mark with another effort on the hour mark, however the Blues finally managed to cross the whitewash on 70 minutes when winger Ed O’Keeffe finished off a move in style. An excellent conversion by Lam out wide put the Blues in front for the first time in the game by the narrowest of margins.
However rather than kicking on, the Blues almost immediately handed the initiative right back to their hosts. Barely two minutes later Naas were back in front when Osborne nailed a long range penalty, and instead of learning their lesson, further ill-discipline from the visitors soon afterwards saw them cough up another penalty, which Osborne gratefully accepted to split the posts and thus seal victory for the Co. Kildare outfit.
The Blues had to console themselves with a losing bonus point, however coach McClearn will expect a big step-up in performance for their first home game next Saturday Sept. 24th against UCC (2.30pm kick-off).
Adam Leavy; Matthew Byrne, Cormac Brennan, Brian Murphy (captain), Ed O’Keeffe; Mitch Lam, Barry Lee; Jason East, Jack Dinneen, Conan O’Donnell; Eoin Tarmey, Matthew Towey; Paul Hackett, Josh Pim, Anthony Ryan.
Subs: Patrick Curran, John Moloney, Aidan Moynihan, Ronan Moore, Dave Clarke