- Result: Galwegians Women 12 - Navan 5
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sun Nov 27th 2011
- Competition: AIL Womens League
Galwegians ground out a seven-point victory over div one newbies Navan, at home, on Sunday 12-5 in mixed conditions.
Sunny at the outset and close, temperatures fluctuated throughout the game as did intermittent spits and drizzles. What happened below near mirrored that which played out above, as Wegians' swung from the sublime and clinical to the stand-offish and stilted.
Leading the charge throughout was representative hopeful Ruth O'Reilly forced to cover both sides of the front row against a bulky and experienced Navan pair. While she made bits of both on occasion, her foremost impact was around the park with ball-in-hand. Quiet in defence compared to some of her colleagues, O'Reilly has made ball-carrying very much a forté of hers this season be it outside scrumhalf or beyond 10.
Topping the tackle count were Tosh Haywood and the ever-reliable Maire Murray.
Their colleagues one and all likewise raised the bar and denied persistent Navan forays on the fringe and midfield, and put in a commanding performance in defence. In attack, it was a different story.
Aside from four O'Reilly breaks, centre Becky McPhilbin's two darts in open play and a first-half breakaway from Carol Staunton, Galwegians barely fired a shot while in possession. Hardly denied opportunities to do so, Wegians were forced to make play on Navan terms - the visiting loose forwards and halves proving very adroit at interrupting distributive channels.
The concerted efforts of a well-trained Navan pack meant the Galway crew struggled for continuity as first receivers found themselves swamped in navy and blue hoops.
Galwegians are a proud defensive unit, and justifiably so. On song, they present a near-impermeable front boasting as much in the way of discipline as they do technical proficiency. On attack, they are lagging in comparison. Most heartbreaking in this department is a wealth of ball-players and slick support who are simply unable to link as two and three-somes. While linebreaks are far from a rarity, personnel on hand to turn them into bankable deposits is a major concern.
The weekend's victory slots Wegians into fifth place in the eight-team league and therefore atop the lower tier in the split second round. They meet Belfast's Cooke next up, and Navan and St Mary's later in the piece.
While two Cup competitions beckon after Christmas, nothing short of a first-place finish in the lower league will suffice given the firepower Wegians' boast albeit as-yet unseen.