- Result: Galwegians Firsts 6 - Clontarf 32
- Venue: Castle Avenue on Sat Apr 29th 2006
- Competition: AIL Division 1
Galwegians lost their final AIL game of a disappointing season when they were resoundly beaten away to joint table-toppers Clontarf in Castle Avenue on Saturday. However the failure of Trinity College to secure a result away to another play-off team, Cork Con, ensured that the Blues survived relegation to Division 2, and they can now look forward to a seventh successive season in the top-flight.
This was always a big ask of Wegians to get something from this game, and they found themselves 10 points down after as many minutes. Clontarf no. 8 Philip Purdue opened the scoring with a pushover try on 5 minutes, with Tarf full-back Darragh O’Shea adding the conversion and a penalty soon after. When Galwegians’ inspirational captain Ambrose Conboy was substituted after only 15 minutes their cause looked hopeless, although he was replaced by Andrew Gallagher, the only Connacht interpro available to Wegians on the day. But in an error-strewn game, neither side was able to score again in the opening half, leaving it 10-0 in favour of the hosts at the break.
However any remote chance of a revival was snuffed out two minutes after the restart when an untidy Galwegians scrum was turned over, and former Connacht interpro and Monivea native Niall O’Brien crossed near the posts for Clontarf’s second try, with O’Shea converting for a 17-0 lead. The only highlight of the day for Wegians was a monster drop-goal from near the halfway line by Wegians U-21 international Peter Durcan, who was lining out at full-back. But the home side soon stretched their lead with a third try from prop Rob Sweeney.
Wegians out-half Brian Murphy then landed a penalty on the hour-mark to reduce arrears to 22-6, as suddenly points difference looked like being crucial for Wegians, with Trinity College threatening to gain two bonus points at Cork Con which would have left the sides level in the table, both fighting to avoid the second relegation spot.
However things looked even bleaker when Wegians lock Brian McClearn was sin-binned on 65 minutes. The home side, who were searching for a bonus point themselves in the race for top-spot, made full use of their numerical advantage, as moments later a 30-metre maul resulted in their fourth bonus try, and a second for no. 8 Purdue. They even had time for a fifth try near the end from sub flanker Darren ffrench to seal a comfortable 32-6 victory.
The Wegians team and supporters then had an anxious few minutes as they waited for the news from Cork, but their despair turned to relief as word came through that Trinity had lost without gaining any points, thus ensuring another year of Division 1 rugby next season in Glenina.