- Result: Galwegians Firsts 10 - St Marys 8
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Oct 27th 2007
- Competition: AIL Division 1
For the second year in a row Galwegians having succeeded in making a winning start to their All Ireland League campaign. On this occasion the victory was against St. Mary’s, who coincidentally lost by a similar margin on their last league outing at Crowley Park.
St. Mary’s played with the benefit of a very strong wind in the first half; they started well and were soon on the offensive and attacked inside the Galwegian twenty two however after a number of plays Galwegians won a turn over to relieve the pressure. St. Mary’s failure to capitalise on the strong wind advantage was their undoing this and on the few occasions when they looked like making a breakthrough wayward passing and bad ball handling let them down. The Galwegian pack had the measure of their opponents particularly in the lineout’s where the strength of Tonkin, Brown and Casserley was evident bit silly mistakes meant they failed to push home this advantage. The rest of the first half saw play confined almost exclusively to between the twenty two’s, St Mary’s did get two kickable penalties just from just outside the Galwegian twenty two, the first was slightly to the left and the second slightly to the right of the posts both were taken by the Mary’s outhalf Frank Lynch, both were off target kicking into the clubhouse end.
Mary’s lost their second row Eoin Keane to a yellow card on thirty five minutes. At the end of a largely forgettable first half neither team had managed a score.
Mary’s had the restart but failed to get the required ten meters resulting in a Galwegian scrum. Galwegian were managing to get more possession but bad decision making especially when deciding to run a penalty on their own ten yard line instead of taking advantage of the strong wind to get a foothold in Mary’s territory, in addition some confusion between the half backs meant they were on the defensive when it should have been the opposite. On forty seven minutes Galwegians Tierney replaced Shaw at scrum half and McGovern replaced O’Connell in the front row, Merrigan replaced Muldoon at number two. Wegians injected some urgency into their game through a series of good back moves, a long kick by O’Beirne ended with the ball in the Mary’s in goal area, their failure to clear their lines resulted in a series of mauls where Mary’s eventually conceded a penalty. From the resulting linout Galwegians managed to get their maul rolling and had Mary’s on the back foot well inside the Mary’s twenty two when inexplicable a Galwegian forward broke from the maul conceding a penalty and then Wegians lost a further ten yards for dissent. This let off gave Mary’s renewed energy and they started to take the game to Galwegians gaining territorial advantage through some good running by their right win Darragh Fanning. The game was now in it’s sixty second minute and still no score.
Then the drama started, St Marys had mounted a series of attacks inside the Wegian half all of which had broken down, their next attempt also broke down when the Wegians outhalf Cormac O’Beirne intercepted a Mary’s ball on his own ten yard line and then set off up the pitch at pace pursued by the closing Mary’s cover, just as he was being hauled in he dived for the line to score a dramatic try which he duly converted to leave Wegians seven points to the good on the sixty fifth minute. From the resulting restart Gawegians gathered safely but instead of using the wind they for some unknown reason they attempted to set up a play almost on their own twenty got turned over and after some good mauling by Mary’s a try was conceded by Wegians in the corner, Mary’s missed the difficult conversion. On the resumption Mary’s continued to attack, a knock on by Wegians resulted in advantage to Mary’s, some untidy play by Wegians in their attempts to recover the ball resulted in a penalty in front of the posts twenty five meters out which was converted by Mary’s outhalf Frank Lynch.It was now 8-7 to Mary’s with six minutes left. The Wegian outhalf Cormac O’ Beirne left the field injured and was replaced by Eamon Molloy. Wegians managed to reassert themselves and were putting Mary’s under pressure deep in side their own half a scrum to Wegians was turned resulting in a Marys put in which Marys won and cleared to touch.Wegian won the line out and started to maul towards the Mary’s line, Eamonn Molloy dropped back called for the ball and duly kick a great drop goal leaving Wegians to the 10-8 up with only minutes remaining.
But the drama was to continue as Wegians repeated the exact same error as previously, at the restart in that they attempted to set up a play on their own twenty two rather than booting the ball back in Mary’s territory, the ball was again turned over and the game was saved only when the Wegian defense managed to bundle the Mary’s wing into touch, Wegians won the line out and Molloy launched a good clearance but Marys attacked again and mauled into the Wegians twenty two they conceded a scum which Wegians won, the ball eventually made it’s way to Wegians John Cleary who kicked to touch for the final whistle to sound.
So a despite a largely forgettable game with all the drama squeezed into a fifteen minute period it was a good start to Wegians league campaign. Mary’s will rue this loss but they failed to take advantage when they had the benefit of a strong wind in the first half, Wegians took what was offered and won the day.