- Result: Galwegians Firsts 38 - UCD 17
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Mar 3rd 2012
- Competition: AIL Division 1B
Galwegians got back to winning ways with a comprehensive 6-try demolition of UCD in cracking match at Crowley Park on Saturday.
Wegians came into this game lying in second from bottom, and a win was vital to get their League campaign back on track. The game started in bright afternoon sunshine, and the students played with the wind advantage in the opening half and made most of the early running. However Wegians struck first on 12 minutes when two graduates of their own underage system combined, with out-half Tadhg Leader feeding no. 8 Eoin McKeon who made a fine break. And although stopped just short of the line, Leader took the return pass to score the opening try, which he duly converted for a 7-0 lead.
The danger from the visitors clearly came from their free-running backline, and they levelled matters in the 18th minute when full-back Michael Twomey sliced through the cover to score a try, which was well converted by out-half Niall Earls to level the game. And it got better for the students when they took the lead on 25 minutes. This time Wegians were punished when a long lineout throw in their own 22 went crooked in the strong breeze. And following quick clean scrum ball, UCD flanker Richie Bent took a pop pass to crash over near the posts, with Earls again converting for a 14-7 lead.
However Wegians responded well and they completely dominated the remainder of the half. The forwards clearly had the upper hand, laying the ground work. And just before the half-hour mark an excellent break by young winger Matthew Dever set up an attack, which was finished off several phases later by scrum-half Dave Moore who sniped over near the line. Leader’s conversion levelled the game for a second time, but the hosts deservedly regained the lead just before the break. It followed an excellent cross-kick deep into touch from Leader’s younger brother Darragh, who made a very impressive debut at full-back. And when Wegians turned over the lineout, several phases later it was older brother Tadhg who got in for his second and his side’s third try in the right-hand corner, leaving it 19-14 at half-time.
The students thought they had levelled the contest once again at the start of the second-half when referee Simon McDowell awarded another try to full-back Twomey following the opening passage of play. But fortunately for the hosts it was overruled as the touch-judge had seen a tackle in the air on Wegians captain for the day Brian McClearn at the restart. However Earls soon reduced arrears to just two points with a penalty on 46 minutes, putting the game once more on a knife-edge. But in a superb second-half performance, Wegians re-asserted their dominance up front and they shut down the attacking threat from College.
The crucial fourth try came before the hour mark when a perfectly judged cross-kick by Tadhg Leader was fielded by College winger Andy Boyle near his line. But another big hit and superb turnover by in-form centre Brian Murphy created the opportunity, and when spun wide, right-winger Colin Conroy went over for an excellent score, which Leader converted for a 26-17 lead. UCD out-half Earls missed a difficult long-range penalty soon after, and in the final quarter, try as they might, the students just could find no way out of their own half.
The game was made safe following another excellent break by the impressive McKeon which almost led to a try. And although he stumbled just short, centre Murphy was on hand to take the scoring pass and make it try number five. Then in the final passage of play, Wegians substitute prop Jason East ignored a huge overlap outside him to barge his way over and score a sixth try near the posts. Leader’s conversion was the last kick of the game, and this win takes the Blues out of the relegation zone and up to fourth from bottom, albeit on points difference ahead of both UCD & Bruff, but with a game in hand.
The game was preceded by a minute’s silence for Galwegians player Dave O’Hara following his tragic recent death, and the win was dedicated to his memory.
A three week break now follows for Division 1b, when Wegians resume action against bottom of the table UCC in the Mardyke.