- Result: Galwegians Firsts 14 - Buccaneers 28
- Venue: Sportsground on Sun Dec 14th 2014
- Competition: Connacht Senior Cup
Galwegians lost their Connacht Senior Cup crown when they were beaten by a better Buccaneers side 28-14 in a lively played at Galway Sportsground on Sunday. Both squads did not have the use of ‘contracted’ players but, nevertheless, the teams put in a committed, absorbing and entertaining battle for the coveted trophy.
Buccs had first benefit of the elements and the primarily crossfield breeze, yet it was the Blues who went on the offensive from the kick off. Wegians forced the early pace and territory until Callum Boland struck a magnificent penalty from his own 22 to deep into the Wegians 22. From the lineout, Buccs got their maul going and, with the referee playing advantage, Stephen McVeigh crashed over for a 5th minute try which Boland converted.
Galwegians got a quick opportunity to reply but a penalty kick for the corner did not find touch. Buccs were soon back on the offensive and Boland landed a fine 11th minute penalty after Wegians infringed at a lineout. Wegians response to this score was much more effective, Jerome Harimate and John Cleary countering at pace on the right before the ball was switched across field where prop Doran McHugh powered over for a 15th minute unconverted try.
Just before the end of the opening quarter, Buccs' Rory O’Connor made a mazy run before off-loading to McVeigh who knocked on in the left corner. However, Wegians respite was brief as the Buccs forced a penalty at the ensuing scrum. Boland tapped into touch and, after clean lineout possession was secured, the Buccs pack again mauled impressively over the holders’ line where Scott Flanagan applied the finishing touch for a try. Boland was unable to convert from wide on the left, his only miss of the final.
The game was ebbing and flowing, and Cleary found a promising touch in the left corner after 25 minutes. Buccs knocked on at the lineout and then had to withstand a series of five-metre scrums with the Blues somewhat unlucky not to be awarded a penalty try, before a thumping Billy Henshaw tackle stemmed the tide. Eight minutes later, Buccs’ David Butler turned over possession from his former teammates and sent Eoghan O’Reilly scurrying forward before kicking ahead. The Wegians defence won the chase to avert danger but then, in attempting a swift restart, they knocked on, gifting possession back to Buccs who got the ball away smartly from the resultant scrum. Mark Dolan, Alex Hayman and Butler all combined slickly to send O’Connor haring in for a 33rd minute try which Boland converted for a 22-5 half-time lead.
This was an identical half-time score to the recent AIL meeting in Athlone, and there were early signs of another major Wegians comeback on the cards. Conor Lowndes dropped a neat goal for Galwegians three minutes after the restart and then Buccs prop Martin Staunton was sin-binned on 46 minutes as Buccs struggled at scrum-time. Lowndes slotted over the penalty and Ross Shaughnessy dropped a tidy 53rd minute goal to reduce the holders’ arrears to 22-14. When Buccs' James Tormey was yellow-carded two minutes later for obstruction, Wegians appeared to have serious momentum on their side.
However the pendulum gradually swung back, and when Butler made good ground on the hour mark and Wegians infringed on the ground, Boland landed a decent 61st minute penalty against the elements for an 11-point lead. Buccs took control in the final quarter and Galwegians’ hopes evaporated in the 72nd minute when substitute Ronan Moore was binned. Boland sealed the issue with a late penalty to complete the 28-14 winning margin and secure their first Senior Cup triumph since 2007.
J.Cleary; C.Lowndes, J.Harimate, D.A.Moynihan, S.Madden; R.Shaughnessy, B.Lee; C.Kyne, C.Gavin, D.McHugh; M.Cummins, P.Claffey; P.Hackett, J.Pimm and E.Tarmey.
Replacements:- M.Fox (for Kyne, 55 mins), G.Armstrong (for Moynihan, 68 mins), R.Moore (for Hackett, 70 mins), C.Dunne (for Gavin, 70 mins) and M.Connolly.