- Result: Galwegians Firsts 32 - Buccaneers 27
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Aug 23rd 2014
- Competition: Connacht Senior League
- Match video
GALWEGIANS took a major step in their bid to retain the Connacht Senior League title when they outpointed Buccaneers in a high-scoring thriller at Crowley Park on Saturday. The Glenina pitch, although very firm, was in superb condition on a fine, dry afternoon with a light crossfield breeze. Wegians were playing their first game of the campaign after Sligo failed to show twice for their opening fixture, while Buccs had four changes, three enforced, from their opening win over Corinthians. There was plenty of exciting new talent on show in a contest which provided an ideal test for both sides in advance of the Division 1b campaign next month.
Wegians got a tonic start when Ross Shaughnessy’s dummy was bought by a couple of Buccs players and the home outhalf waltzed in unchallenged for a fourth minute try which he also converted. Buccs were slow to get going but Jacob Walshe set a move in motion that was carried on by Eoghan O’Reilly who sucked in the cover before off-loading to Rory O’Connor who scooted in for a 12th minute try on the left. Ger O’Connor converted to level for the visitors.
Wegians were dominant in the scrum, and Shaughnessy punished the visitors for an indiscretion here with a 17th minute penalty. A Ger O’Connor penalty soon tied the scores at 10-10, but two minutes later, a dummy and hand-off by debutante Wegians full-back J.P. Jeffers unlocked the Pirates defence for a try, which was converted by Shaughnessy. Buccs responded on the half-hour with a spell of fierce pressure which yielded another O’Connor penalty that reduced the half-time arrears to 17-13.
Wegians got off to another great start in the second-half, when a lineout steal near halfway set up a counterattack, and prop Doran McHugh managed to bulldoze over for a 43rd minute try. Four minutes later, the Blues were almost out of sight with their best move of the game when substitute John Cleary served notice that the veteran still possesses pace and the try-scoring touch to bag a fourth try. Just after the hour mark, Wegians again punished Buccs for coughing up cheap possession, and Cleary scampered in for his second try that stretched the lead to a seemingly unassailable 32-13.
However although completely on top, the Blues then slackened off the pace and credit to Buccs who showed great spirit and self-belief to work their way back into the game. Following a penalty to the right corner, teenage substitute Conor Morrissey raced in on the right for a 69th minute try which Ger O’Connor did well to convert. Then three minutes from time, Buccs put some fine sustained play together and Gallogly capped his debut with a well-worked try. Ger O’Connor’s conversion made for a nervous finish for the home supporters. Indeed Buccaneers looked like stealing an unlikely win in the final move. But desperate defence and a thumping tackle forced a knock on with the home line beckoning, and thus Wegians held on for a deserved victory.
Next up is an away trip to city rivals Corinthians on Saturday at 2.30pm, where a win would seal the retention of the Senior League.