- Result: Galwegians Firsts 31 - Corinthians 26
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Dec 28th 2013
- Competition: Connacht Senior Cup
Galwegians retained the Connacht Senior Cup when they edged out arch rivals Corinthians in a nine-try thriller at Crowley Park.
Both teams came into this game on the back of some great results in Ulster Bank League Division 2a & 1b, with Corinthians starting as favourites due to their higher League standing. However despite a late rally, they were unable to halt Wegians’ march as the Blues closed in on UCG’s record haul of 34 Senior Cup titles.
With both sides fielding relatively strong sides, Corinthians made the brighter start, but they had nothing to show for their early pressure. They went behind when Wegians scored off their first attack in the tenth minute, when their ace marksman John Cleary scored a fine individual try near the left-corner. Full-back Darragh Leader landed an excellent conversion to make it 7-0. However this spurred the visitors into action and they were not long in levelling matters, with out-half Conor Murphy darting over for his side’s opening try following sustained pressure on the line from his pack, and he added the conversion for good measure.
Wegians then dominated most of the second quarter but Leader wasted a simple penalty in front of the posts, keeping the sides level. And although the Blues looked the more likely to score, it was the Cloonacauneen men who struck next when an excellent clearance kick to touch led to a crooked-in throw by Wegians near their own line. And following a strong scrum base, Murphy crossed again for a second try for the visitors, with Finn Gormley adding an excellent convert to make it 14-7.
However Wegians’ response was swift and decisive. When Corinthians were soon reduced to 14 men, a quick tap and go by Barry Lee led to a chance for Rory Parata to dive over near the posts, with Leader’s conversion levelling the game on the stroke of half-time.
The third quarter was where this game was won, as Wegians put in a stellar performance scoring three unanswered tries. Shortly after the restart a good move down the right flank saw hooker Conor Muldoon combined well with Parata to send over winger Colin Conroy for an excellent score. Shortly afterwards try number four arrived, when a set-piece move saw centre Brian Murphy crash through the middle to dive under the posts, with Leader’s conversion making it 26-14. Before the hour mark came the pick of the tries when Leader ran a great line, drawing two defenders before releasing Cleary into space, and the winger had too much pace and power to outwit his marker and touch down near the left-corner.
This gave the Blues a 17-point cushion and seemingly with the Cup in their grasp, however Corinthians have been making a habit of strong finishes and late comebacks. And with ten minutes remaining they were given hope when Greg Faherty finished off an attack with a try to reduce the margin to 31-19. Wegians then slackened up and when they failed to find touch with a penalty, Corinthians went on the attack again and Aaron Connelly barged over for a fourth try, with the conversion making it a 5-point game. However it proved too little too late for the Cloonacauneen men as the Blues closed out the game safely in the dying minutes to deservedly seal their 32nd Senior Cup title.