- Result: Galwegians Firsts 25 - Dublin University 17
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Sep 13th 2014
- Competition: AIL Division 1B
Newly-promoted Galwegians got their UBL Division 1b campaign off to a perfect start with a 25-17 bonus point win over a plucky Trinity College outfit at a sun-kissed Glenina on Saturday.
The hosts got off to the perfect start with a try in the second minute, when inside centre Gary O’Brien took a flat pass from out-half Rory Parata at pace to scythe through the student defence and score under the posts. Parata converted for a 7-0 lead early doors, and although he pulled a 7th minute penalty effort wide of the posts, Wegians soon managed to extend their lead further with a superb 12th minute try. They showed their potency in the backs, this time left-wing Matt Dever making an excellent break, drawing the cover before finding full-back John Cleary who sent winger Jerome Harrimate over in the right-hand corner.
12-0 ahead and things looked very comfortable for the Blues, however the students got right back into the game in the 18th minute when they opened their account. It followed their first meaningful attack when centre and captain Paddy Lavelle took a sweet reverse pass from out-half Jack McDermott to saunter under the posts, with McDermott converting to reduce arrears to 12-7.
In a typical season-opener contest, the game was a scrappy affair littered with knock-ons and errors. However Wegians were dominating territory and possession and they looked the livelier side when attacking from broken play. Parata stretched the lead to 15-7 with a penalty on the half-hour following an excellent scrum shunt from his pack on the 22. The crucial score came just before half-time when a long-range Trinity clearance was fielded by Harrimate on half-way, and some excellent hands by the three-quarter line put captain for the day Brian Murphy racing clear inside the 22. And following more spade work by the forwards, scrum-half Blade sniped over to touch down near the left-corner for another excellent score, making it 22-7 at the break.
Any thoughts that the hosts would cruise to an easy bonus point victory were soon dispelled by a gritty Trinity who started the better team in the second-half. In the 48th minute captain Lavelle showed great determination to avoid the attentions of at least three defenders to somehow get over in the right-hand corner for his second try, and at 22-12 it was game on again.
The stop-start nature of the game continued with knock-ons and turnovers a recurring feature. Wegians regained the initiative in the territory stakes, and Parata and Harrimate both spurned gilt-edged chances to seal the bonus try, only to knock on with the line at their mercy. However the Blues were fortunate not to concede a third try on the hour mark, when an intercept by student flanker Brian du Toit almost saw him get over in the corner, only to be held up by some desperate defence.
The students’ chances were not helped when winger Tim Maupin was rightly sin-binned for a late tackle on full-back Cleary, which allowed the hosts to regain territory. They eventually took advantage of the extra man when sub Colin Conroy and Murphy combined well to set up winger Deve, who cut through the centre to score his third try in two games, sealing the all-important bonus point.
However credit to the students who kept pressing, and when referee Oisin Quinn penalised the Wegians defence deep into stoppage-time, Trinity centre Conor Kearns finished off a move by scampering over to the right of the posts. It gave the students a chance to salvage an unlikely bonus point, but despite being given two attempts by referee Quinn, out-half McDermott missed the target to send his team home empty-handed.
This win puts Wegians at the summit of Division 1b on the first weekend, being the only side to score a winning bonus point. However coach Matt Brown will know that there is much to work on and things to put right, before they travel to Limerick this Saturday face eight-time former AIL winners Shannon.
Replacements:- C. Conroy, M.Connolly, E.Tarmey,J Dinneen, K Kyne.