- Result: Galwegians Firsts 7 - Garryowen 20
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Mar 22nd 2008
- Competition: AIL Division 1
Galwegians remain on the fringes of the relegation battle going into the final two rounds of games, as Garryowen ran out comfortable winners of this Division 1 clash at a dry but blustery Crowley Park.
The visitors had the advantage of a stiff breeze in the opening-half, but Wegians made a very promising start, taking the game to their opponents right from the off. They were presented with an early chance to open the scoring in the 2nd minute, but Liam Bibo’s penalty attempt from 30 metres out proved too ambitious into the teeth of the breeze.
Garryowen soaked up some early pressure as their half-backs Gerry Hurley & Alan Kingsley began to use the elements to gain territory with their line-kicking. And they opened the scoring with their first real attack of note in the 15th minute. Hooker Damien Varley did the damage with a searing burst up the middle, and although he was hauled down short of the line by full-back Bibo, a few phases later lock Frank McKenna dived over from a ruck on the left for the opening try. Full-back Conor Kilroy landed an excellent conversion to open up a 7-0 lead.
While Wegians maintained their promising start, they were confined to half-chances which they were unable to convert into points. Kilroy added another penalty from close-in after the home side were penalised by the officious referee Haycock, and they had to withstand some late pressure as Garryowen spurned two further try-scoring opportunities including one disallowed effort for a forward pass. Kilroy was also narrowly wide with a long-range penalty, leaving the margin 10-0 at the break.
Despite having the elements in their favour in the second-half, Wegians were unable to take any advantage. Indeed it was the visitors who stretched their lead with another Kilroy penalty on 51 minutes following a dubious off-side decision.
And the game was effectively finished as a contest when the defending champions scored a second try just before the hour mark. It came following a knock-on by Wegians no. 8 Liam Casserly in opposition territory, and the Wegians defence was caught napping as winger Cillian O’Boyle played the advantage and sped up the left before sending a scoring inside pass to lock forward Mark Melbourne. Another well-struck Kilroy conversion merely rubbed salt into the wound for the home side.
For the final quarter Garryowen were content to soak up all the pressure as Wegians tried to retrieve the deficit. But it took until stoppage time before they finally managed to breach the defence when centre Pate Tuilevaka finished a move under the posts. And although Bibo landed the conversion, referee Haycock immediately blew for full-time, meaning the home side had nothing to show for their efforts.