- Result: Galwegians Firsts 40 - Dungannon 3
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Jan 13th 2007
- Competition: AIL Cup
Galwegians proved far too strong for visitors Dungannon in this AIB Cup first round clash at a wind and rainswept Crowley Park on Saturday, running in six unanswered tries in an emphatic display to claim a quarter-final place for the second year running.
With both sides recording good wins last week in the AIB Division 1, coaches Paul Young (Wegians) and Jeremy Davidson (Dungannon) each made six changes to their starting line-ups, some of which were forced and some not. But on this evidence Wegians proved that they have much greater depth in their squad, even having the luxury of finishing the game with four Under-20 players in their pack.
Wegians got off to a dream start, scoring two tries in the opening two minutes. The first came after 30 seconds when man of the match, right-wing John Cleary broke from inside his own 10m line, and the Wellpark man set off on a mazy run, skipping several tackles before being hauled down short of the line. But he found his captain and blindside flanker Ambrose Conboy on hand to finish it off by diving over for a try, with Nick Wakely judging the wind to perfection to land an excellent conversion.
Then barely a minute later it was a case of déja vu as Cleary broke again from near halfway, this time charging up the right-wing and evading several tackles. And following a ruck close to the opposition line, out-half Paddy O’Toole launched a perfect cross-kick, and this time it was open-side flanker Aaron McGettigan who gathered to score a second try, making it 12-0 with barely 3 minutes played.
Playing into a stiff breeze, the shell-shocked visitors tried to get a foothold in the game, and they were given hope in the 11th minute when a good passage of forward play was resulted in a penalty from out-half Jamie Shiels. However any notions of a comeback were soon dashed, when that man Cleary again broke away in the 16th minute. This time the winger launched a clever clearance kick from inside the 22m line, spotting an absent Dungannon defence. And having followed up his own kick, it soon became a 50-50 contest between himself and his opposite number Mark Scott. But Cleary’s pace and some deft ball control paid off as this time he finished it off himself for try number three in the left-corner.
The second quarter remained fairly quiet as Wegians took their foot off the gas slightly, while the visitors rarely threatened. Indeed the only real action of note was when the unfortunate referee Ken Henley Willis had to retire early to be replaced by Peter McCarthy. But right on half-time Wegians put the result beyond any doubt following an excellent break by Derek Boyd. The lock forward took a pop pass from Paddy O’Toole and charged up the middle before supplying full-back Kieran Hickman on his right shoulder who rounded the cover to score another unconverted try in the right-corner, making it 22-3 at the break.
Despite having the wind advantage in the second-half, a hapless Dungannon were unable to make any impression as the Galwegians pack completely dominated up front. The Blues stretched their lead with two Nick Wakely penalties in quick succession on 49 & 51 minutes. Then try number five arrived just after the hour-mark. Initially hooker Conor Muldoon appeared to waste an opportunity when he misfired a 5 metre line-out throw, but he atoned for his error when he seized on disarray in the Dungannon defence by pouncing on a loose ball over the line to score his first try of the season.
Wegians Coach Paul Young introduced four subs for the final stages, including youngsters Jarleth Naughton and John Mullen in the pack. And the Blues rounded off an excellent day’s work when Anthony Barrett got on the end of a move near the end to score a sixth try on the left, with Wakely adding a second conversion to leave the final score 40-3.
And so Wegians go into this Saturday’s crunch AIB League game at home to joint-leaders Clontarf (kick-off 2.30pm) on a high, buoyed by a 13-try haul in their last two games against Division 1 opposition in Crowley Park.