- Result: Galwegians Firsts 5 - Cork Constitution 13
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Mar 29th 2008
- Competition: AIL Division 1
Cork Con remain at the top of the Division 1 table, but only after a hard-earned victory having been pushed all the way by a dogged Galwegians at Crowley Park. But ‘Wegians will be kicking themselves after not coming away with at least a consolation bonus point which would have guaranteed their Division 1 status next year. Indeed a win would have been fair reward for their dominance for long periods this game. But it was a failure to take chances which cost them, in contrast to their visitors who made full profit from their limited opportunities.
Playing with a stiff first-half breeze, Con raced into an early lead when they crossed for a 3rd minute try. It followed a simple missed tackle on flanker Frank Cogan, and when hooker Denis Fogarty found Cronan Healy on his shoulder, the Club international winger had a clear run to the line for the opening try. Although Richie Lane missed the conversion, things looked ominous for Wegians at this early stage. But the home side soon got stuck in, and their pack in particular took the game to their opponents and dominated for long periods. And despite using the elements to play a territorial game, Con could only add a 15th minute Richie Lane penalty to their first-half tally to lead 8-0 at the break.
Indeed they were somewhat fortunate to retain such a lead, as Wegians came closest to scoring. In the first quarter a close-in line-out opportunity was wasted when the otherwise excellent Conor Muldoon miscued his throw, and just before the break the normally reliable Liam Bibo was off target with a very kickable penalty 25 metres out.
In the second-half the wind died down, and the visitors started brighter as their forwards started to retain possession more effectively. But Wegians had the first chance to score after 53 minutes when awarded a penalty on the 10 metre line. And although he had the accuracy, this time Bibo’s slightly ambitious effort landed just short of the crossbar.
The killer score came just before the hour when Con scored a second try. Having worked their way into opposition territory, there was no apparent danger for the home side until a dreadful pass from scrum-half Robbie Shaw put full-back Bibo under all sorts of pressure. And when the retreating full-back’s kick was charged down, centre Evan Ryan touched down right at the corner flag to put his side 13-0 in front.
This knocked the stuffing out of Galwegians somewhat, and they had to wait until the 78th minute to make the breakthrough on the scoreboard when a strong rolling maul created the chance for winger John Cleary who finished well in the right corner. Crucially Bibo’s difficult touchline attempt was off target, and despite one late Galwegians rally, Con closed out the game comfortably to seal victory.
This keeps Wegians mathematically involved in the relegation battle, but if they can avoid a landslide defeat in their final League game at play-off contenders Clontarf on April 19, they should still retain their premier league status.