- Result: Galwegians Firsts 26 - Old Belvedere 24
- Venue: Anglesea Road on Sat Mar 1st 2008
- Competition: AIL Division 1
Galwegians scored an excellent win against Old Belvedere in a thrilling Division 1 clash at Anglesea Road on Saturday. In a nail-biting finish, Belvedere’s veteran out-half Richie Murphy had a chance to seal a draw, but his difficult conversion attempt sailed wide of the posts to hand victory to the Glenina outfit.
Playing against the wind in the opening period, Wegians looked the better side and deservedly led 6-0 through two Liam Bibo penalties, the second of which came on the stroke of half-time. However the game exploded into life in the second-half.
Belvedere opened their account through a penalty from their no. 10 Murphy to reduce the margin. But Wegians struck a crucial blow soon afterwards when flanker Ian Cullinane intercepted and broke clear to score the game’s opening try, with Bibo’s conversion stretching the lead to 13-3. However the home side were beginning to dominate and with Wegians’ U-20 international lock forward and AIL debutant Dave Nolan in the sin-bin, they soon capitalised and got right back into the game through a try from Tim Jago. Murphy converted and landed a penalty soon after to bring the sides level at 13-13.
However Wegians responded well and two more Bibo penalties stretched their advantage to 19-13, as the home side were also temporarily reduced to 14 men. But credit Belvedere who kept plugging away, and Murphy responded in kind with two more penalties to level the game for a second time.
With the game on a knife-edge, it was Galwegians who bagged what proved to be the winning score in the final minutes. It came from a break by winger Pate Tuilevaka, who had moved into the centre during the second-half, and the big Fijian-born US Eagle backed himself as his strength and determination saw him cross the line for an excellent try. The flawless Bibo added what proved to be a decisive conversion to open up a seven-point lead.
But the Blues contrived to put themselves through some last-minute agony when Belvedere’s pressure saw winger Kevin Barden cross for a try in stoppage-time. But when Murphy’s conversion sailed wide, referee Dermot Moloney blew for full-time to signal much joy and no little relief in the Wegians camp.
This victory puts Wegians nine points clear of the drop-zone with three games left to play, which ought to be sufficient to ensure their safety. Now they can look forward in confident mood to their home AIB Cup semi-final against Shannon next Saturday (March 8, 3.15 kick-off).