- Result: Galwegians Firsts 6 - Buccaneers 23
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Feb 11th 2006
- Competition: AIL Cup
Galwegians came off second best in a disappointing AIL Cup quarter-final clash on Saturday afternoon where the visitors, provincial rivals Buccaneers, won quite comfortably in the end, ensuring that the contest never really lived up to its promise.
With Connacht off duty, both sides were able to field from a position of relative strength, however it was the relative dominance of the Buccaneers backline that decided this contest, with a very impressive line-up featuring no less than four Connacht squad members - Conor O'Loughlin, Paul Warwick, Darren Yapp & Ted Robinson. They certainly made their mark on the proceedings, and while Wegians also had a provincial half-back pairing in Tom Tierney & Dave Slemen, the loss of John Hearty & Peter Durcan, who were on international duty with the Ireland A & U-21 teams respectively, was keenly felt.
Up front there was little to choose between the sides, but the early loss of Mike Swift to injury hardly helped the home side's cause, although the Blues will have been heartened to see the return of flanker Ivan Muldoon who replaced Swift on 15 minutes, having been out for a month with injury.
Buccs took the lead on 17 minutes with a penalty from their prolific points-scoring full-back, ex-Shannon man Tom Cregan. Cregan then added a second on 25 minutes before Dave Slemen responded in kind with Galwegians' only score of the opening half, which indeed was their only attack. But the game was effectively decided in the 10 minute period before half-time when Buccs ran in what proved to be the game's only two tries. First it was Darren Yapp who finished off a move on 32 minutes, and four minutes later a breakaway move ended in a try for his Connacht colleague Paul Warwick, with Cregan duly obliging with both conversions to put daylight between the teams.
Cregan tagged on a third penalty early in the second-half to open up a 20 point margin between the sides, and try as they might, Galwegians were unable to make any serious inroads, with their only response another Slemen penalty on 55 minutes. The Blues were unable to capitalise on the sin-binning of Buccs locks Brian Buckley & Dave Gannon in the final quarter, and though they came close to scoring late on, somehow the Buccs defence held firm. And the visitors were also able to rely on the trusty boot of Warwick who regularly cleared his lines with some gargantuan kicks to relieve the pressure on his team and ensure that the result was never in doubt.