- Result: Galwegians Firsts 8 - Clontarf 8
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Jan 20th 2007
- Competition: AIL Division 1
Galwegians continued their unbeaten run in 2007, but this time they had to settle for a share of the spoils against League leaders Clontarf in a game played in dreadful conditions at Crowley Park on Saturday. It was probably a fair result as neither side deserved to lose, and it keeps Wegians within shouting distance of play-off contention with six games remaining.
Wegians played with the aid of a stiff breeze in the first-half and they dominated the early proceedings. They opened the scoring on 11 minutes following an excellent break from out-half Paddy O’Toole which almost led to a try for lock Andrew Browne. But it did lead to a penalty near the posts which O’Toole struck over for a 3-0 lead. The Blues continued to dominate with the pack getting the upper hand, but the dreadful wind made handling difficult and limited opportunities to run the ball out wide.
They competed well in the line-out with Browne, Liam Casserly and Derek Boyd jumping well, and Conor Muldoon faring much better with his throwing than his opposite number Niall Carson. Then the opening try came on 23 minutes which put the Blues further in front. When Clontarf were penalised for pulling down in a lineout, Nick Wakley kicked to the corner and following good clean ball from Browne, the home pack patiently mauled their way towards the line before finally crossing the whitewash, with prop Dan O’Connell emerging with the ball.
O’Toole was wide with the difficult conversion from the right, and the out-half and Wakely each missed long-distance penalty efforts before half-time. Wegians did come close to a second try on 32 minutes but were penalised when only 5 metres from the posts, and to make matters worse captain Ambrose Conboy was sin-binned. And the visiting defence held firm for the rest of the half to keep the score 8-0 at the break.
With the elements in their favour in the second-half, Clontarf started with intent, and they did not have to wait long to open their account. Following a sustained passage of play and a driving maul, scrum-half and captain Fiach O’Loughlin dived over near the left corner in the 42nd minute to reduce arrears to 8-5.
The visitors cranked up the pressure and their pack was now ominously gaining the upper hand. They should have scored a second try minutes later, but hooker Carson knocked on with an overlap outside him. But by the 51st minute they were level when winger Matt Nethery landed a penalty to the left of the posts. This seemed to signal an onslaught from Clontarf, but credit the home defence who stuck to their guns and showed great discipline and composure to withstand the pressure.
Wegians even had a chance to steal a win late on when an excellent break-out from winger James Wakley resulted in a penalty near the right-corner. But although they won clean line-out ball, they failed to get the maul going and the chance was lost. They were then forced to settle for the draw as ‘Tarf went in search of the victory, but they too met a resolute home defence who were determined not to concede a losing score. Wegians’ next game is away to Cork Con on Saturday Jan. 27th.