- Result: Galwegians Firsts 14 - Dolphin 29
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Dec 6th 2008
- Competition: AIL Division 1
For the second consecutive week Galwegians suffered a comprehensive defeat at the hands of Cork opposition, when an inept display saw them lose their unbeaten home record to Dolphin at Crowley Park on Saturday. And while the final result was emphatic, this was a game which Wegians were well capable of winning had they taken advantage of some of their early scoring opportunities, not to mention losing their way completely in the second-half.
It all started so brightly for Wegians when they took the lead as early as the third minute. A clean line-out and some crisp passing saw ace marksman John Cleary take the ball at pace and split the home defence to score near the left-corner. Full-back Robert O’Beirne landed an excellent conversion for an early 7-0 lead. The Blues could have added to their tally in the opening quarter, especially when another powerful mazy run by Cleary seemed to put him clear again, only to be hauled down at the last second by the retreating cover.
However Wegians flattered to deceive, as the visiting defence held their nerve and their hard-working pack started to gain a foothold. And on 24 minutes the Corkmen served notice of their intentions when they opened their account. A succession of tapped penalties had Wegians under all sorts of pressure, and with the defence sucked in on the left, the overlap was created on the right for full-back Jeff Powers to saunter over for a try. Out-half Barry Keeshan was wide with the conversion attempt to leave Wegians in front 7-5.
Minutes later Galwegians centre Chris Brigl was clear through to the line, only to be harshly penalised for a forward pass from his centre partner Chris Rodgers. But from that moment onwards the signs were ominous, as the Blues started to lose their shape making a succession of unforced errors, most notably poor passing.
Although Wegians held on to their slender lead at the break, Dolphin did not have to wait long in the second-half to take the lead for the first time. Straight from the restart a dreadful mix-up between Wegians half-backs Tom Ellard and Matt Brandon saw them needlessly concede a 5-metre scrum, and the visitors capitalised when scrum-half Gary O’Keeffe finished a simple blind-side move for a second unconverted try, and a 10-7 lead.
The rest of the third quarter was nothing short of a nightmare for the Blues as they seemed to completely lose the plot. The visitors smelt blood, and within ten minutes they had the game won with a bonus point to boot. Full-back Powers rounded off an intense period of pressure to score his second and his side’s third try, and moments later when his opposite number O’Beirne was isolated on halfway and turned over, Dolphin scrum-half O’Keeffe was on hand to complete a brace of his own when he dashed over unopposed from fully 40 metres.
Lacking the leadership of the injured Ivan Muldoon, the Blues seemed incapable of mounting any meaningful response, and before the hour mark another basic error led to the concession of a fifth try, with prop Christy Condron finishing a line-out move to get in on the scoring act. A well-taken try by sub winger Cormac O’Beirne in injury-time was all Wegians could manage in reply, but it was far too little too late as the visitors ended up thoroughly deserving winners.
This second consecutive defeat sees Wegians slip down the League table to 11th place, and their next fixture is a must-win game at home to a struggling Young Munster side at Crowley Park next Saturday (Dec. 13th @ 2.30pm).