- Result: Galwegians Firsts 5 - Terenure 7
- Venue: Lakelands Park on Sat Nov 10th 2007
- Competition: AIL Division 1
Galwegians wasted a glorious opportunity to make it three wins out of three when they came up short against Terenure in Dublin 6W on Saturday. The Blues appeared to have victory all but sewn up for long periods of this game, especially at half-time when they led 5-0 having played against a very strong breeze. But that well-worn cliché ‘a game of two halves’ certainly applied here, and credit the hosts who upped the ante in the second-period to snatch the four points.
Nure won the toss and not surprisingly opted to play with the breeze in the opening period. However Wegians started well and almost got the opening try following an excellent passage of play on 6 minutes, only for flanker Martin Webdale to knock-on near the line. But Nure could have opened the scoring themselves when their talented ex-Schoolboy international out-half David McAllister tried his luck with an early long-range drop-goal and penalty. And while distance was not a problem, he was narrowly wide on both occasions.
With the wind at his back, McAllister kept Wegians pinned deep in their own half for long periods, but the Blues defence dealt comfortably with the home attack, with their line rarely threatened. And as the home side became more frustrated, Wegians grew in confidence, and just after the half-hour mark they appeared to strike a decisive blow. Having won a penalty in their own-half, out-half Cormac O’Beirne’s kick found touch near the Nure 10m line. And a well-worked line-out move saw flanker Webdale make a half-break, with the resultant quick ball spreading wide to right-winger John Cleary who showed his pace and guile to score an excellent try. Unfortunately O’Beirne missed the difficult conversion into the breeze.
Wegians had by now gained the upper hand, and could have added to their lead before the break. And right on half-time, having just replaced centre Pate Tuilevaka who went off with a nasty knee injury, substitute Eamon Molloy was narrowly wide with a 30 metre penalty attempt.
With a 5-0 lead playing with the strong breeze, Tuilevaka’s departure did not appear to be significant at this stage, but in hindsight it did Wegians no favours as the backline was re-arranged with three positional changes. Molloy went in at 10, O’Beirne reverted to full-back and Matt Mostyn, who was making his first start for Wegians in four years, switched from the no. 15 slot into the centre. For all that Wegians could have virtually sewn up the game on 45 minutes when a turnover near the Nure 22 saw lock Andrew Browne hack the ball clear, but unfortunately the strong breeze worked against him as it carried his kick over the dead-ball line, with no defender in sight.
Nure made the most of their good fortune and they took the lead against the run of play on 51 minutes. It started when Wegians hooker Conor Muldoon, who threw excellent darts in the first-half, overcooked a line-out near halfway. And quick ball from the Nure scrum-half Mark Mahony saw McAllister feed John Bollard, and the huge centre swerved through the midfield cover to cross for a well-taken try. Even more crucially he managed to touch down under the posts, giving McAllister a simple conversion to put the home side into the lead, which they never relinquished.
Wegians failed to respond well, and two minutes later Bollard again burst through the cover from inside his own half and nearly scored again, only to be hauled down by Cleary inside the 22. But the Wellpark man was sin-binned for a high tackle by international referee Simon McDowell. However McAllister failed to land the penalty from the left-hand side, thus keeping Wegians within a score.
Remarkably Wegians failed to score any points in the second-half despite having the stiff breeze at their backs. A series of individual errors, knock-ons and poor decision-making cost them dear, while the Terenure pack sensibly opted to pick and drive, retaining the ball at will, with McAllister there to clear his lines with the boot when needed. For all that the Blues should still have won this contest. Molloy missed two long-range penalty attempts in the final quarter, and in the dying seconds, he failed to repeat his heroics against St. Mary’s two weeks ago by slicing a drop-goal attempt just wide of the target.
This really was one that got away for Wegians who were kicking themselves afterwards. Their next game is a tricky away trip to Dolphin next Sunday, with both sides lying mid-table on nine points each.