- Result: Galwegians Firsts 16 - UL Bohemians 18
- Venue: UL 4G Pitch on Sat Mar 11th 2017
- Competition: AIL Division 1B
- Match photos
Galwegians suffered yet more heartache on the road when a late penalty from UL Bohs robbed them of what would have been a vital and hard-earned victory at the UL 4G pitch on Saturday.
Played in glorious afternoon spring sunshine, both sides were slow to get their rhythm going and scoring chances were few and far between in the opening quarter. The breakthrough came on 25 minutes when a clever kick deep into space from Bohs out-half Robbie Bourke forced a line-out near the Wegians 5m line. Unfortunately for the visitors the lineout misfired badly, gifting clean possession to their hosts and flanker Noel Kinnane dived over from the base of a ruck for the opening try. Kiwi centre Rick McKenna tagged on the conversion for give his side a 7-0 lead.
An off-colour Wegians had plenty possession and territory but were unable to make it count, with some poor execution and decision-making depriving them of any serious scoring opportunities. They made matters worse for themselves when they had two of their more influential players binned before half-time. Captain Brian Murphy went first for slapping the ball away from his opponent, and shortly afterwards no. 8 Eoghan Masterson joined him in the bin for illegally thwarting a forward attack near his line. Bourke tagged over the simple penalty from in front of the posts to give his side a 10-0 half-time lead.
The Blues went into the second-half with a tall order ahead of them, and this soon became a mountain to climb when the thirteen men had their lack of numbers exposed barely three minutes after the restart. When opting to run from inside their own half, Bohs centre Harry Fleming saw a gap on the right and cut through at will to dot down near the right-hand corner. Bourke was wide with the conversion attempt, but his side still had a comfortable 15-0 lead.
The Blues gradually began to exert some control, and soon after their captain Murphy returned to the fray, they opened their account on 49 minutes with a well-struck penalty from out-half Morgan Codyre. And with Masterson also returning from the bin, this signalled a significant period of dominance for Wegians. Half-backs Conor Lowndes and Codyre were beginning to use the slight wind to their advantage with some judicious use of the boot. When Lowndes seized on turnover ball to hack forward, this created another simple penalty in front of the posts on the hour mark, which Codyre duly slotted. Then a minute later and the young number 10 made it three from three when Murphy was the victim of a high tackle.
With the deficit now reduced to 15-9, the dynamic of the game completely changed. Wegians’ self-belief visibly rose as doubt crept into their hosts. Then on 70 minutes the visitors took the lead for the first time. With the platform created by their now dominant forwards, the ball was spun wide and a powerful surge by lock Peter Claffey and a perfectly timed pass sent winger Ciaran Gaffney clear, who dived over for an excellent score out wide on the right. Codyre showed nerves of steel to nail the conversion and put his side in front by the slenderest of margins.
Initially the visitors were comfortably defending their lead, until a late surge by the hosts saw them bring play into the Wegians half. The Blues were then penalised on their 10m line for not rolling away, and substitute James Lennon struck it well and just cleared the crossbar to nudge his side back in front.
There was still plenty of time, with referee Oisin Quinn adding on a lot for stoppages. Codyre was wide with a drop-goal attempt shortly after the restart, and having soaked up a late Bohs surge which would have made the game safe, a last-gasp breakaway by Gaffney gave Wegians one final chance. His pass to centre Rory Parata was slapped down by a retreating defender which cost the hosts a yellow card. However Wegians spurned the opportunity to have a long-distance attempt at the posts, instead going up the line. Despite securing their lineout ball safely, their maul was dragged into touch and with that their chance was gone.
It was a disappointing end for Wegians who once again left a win behind them. However if nothing else it underlined their ability to compete with the best in this League, as Bohs hold on to second place after this result. Next up for the Blues is an absolute must-win game against bottom of the table Dolphin, on Saturday March 25th (kick-off 2.30pm).