- Result: Galwegians Firsts 31 - Malone 5
- Venue: Gibson Park on Sat Mar 7th 2015
- Competition: AIL Division 1B
Galwegians remain at the top of UBL Division 1b following a fifth successive win and a comprehensive bonus point victory away to Malone in Belfast on Saturday. However they left it late before turning on the style in the final quarter to put the game beyond doubt.
Wegians took an early lead with a 3rd minute penalty from out-half Aidan Moynihan, however both sides struggled to settle into the game and cope with the strong blustery breeze. Moynihan then doubled the lead on 25 minutes after the hosts were penalised for hands in the ruck, and the Blues spurned a good chance to stretch their advantage when they passed up a straightforward penalty kick for a scrum, only to be penalised at their own put-in. The remainder of the first-half was a very scrappy affair, and as the game became increasingly tetchy, Wegians hooker Ross Fitzgerald was binned by referee Eddie Hogan-O’Connell.
In the second-half the Ulstermen came out of the blocks as they tried to take advantage of the extra man, and they looked certain to open their account early on, only to knock the ball on with the line at their mercy. Then moments later Wegians went upfield and full-back John Cleary showed them the way with a trademark finish, exposing some weak defence to dot down under the posts. Moynihan added the conversion and the Blues looked comfortable at 13-0. However Malone responded extremely well and did manage to cross the whitewash almost immediately when Neil Burns got over near the corner for an unconverted try to reduce arrears to 13-5.
With fifteen men back on the field, Wegians then took the game by the scruff of the neck and snuffed out any possibility of a home comeback. Coach Matt Brown also rang the changes, freshening things up with Barry Lee and Ciaran Gaffney being introduced to the backline. And when prop Conor Kyne replaced the injured Doron McHugh for the final half-hour, the youngster made a dramatic impact, giving the Malone loose-head a torrid time in the scrums.
Moynihan added his third penalty of the day on the hour mark to stretch the advantage to 16-5, and thereafter the Blues really cut loose in the final quarter. It was no surprise when they added a second try when a deft offload from Cleary put lock forward Marty Cummins over in the corner. However Wegians were not content to leave it at that, and with their struggling hosts beginning to tire mentally and physically, they went for the jugular.
On 75 minutes the in-form Rory Parata burst through for his fourth try in consecutive games. Despite time running out, Wegians kept their focus and displayed the stuff of champions to go in search of the bonus. Two minutes from time they got their reward when replacement hooker Jack Dinneen crossed in the corner for the crucial fourth try and seal a 31-5 final score.
Wegians’ late late show restored their two-point lead over nearest challengers Garryowen, who also won away in Ulster against Ballymena. So with two game rounds remaining, it sets up a grandstand finish to the season. Next up for Wegians is another away trip up North, when they travel to face Belfast Harlequins on March 28th.
Replacements:, B Lee, C Gaffney, P Finn, C Kyne, J Dinneen.