- Result: Galwegians Firsts 11 - Garryowen 33
- Venue: Dooradoyle on Sun Oct 24th 2004
- Competition: AIL Division 1
Galwegians lost their first away game in AIL Division 1 when they suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of a strong Garryowen side in Dooradoyle on Sunday.
Fresh from a home draw with Trinity College a week earlier, Wegians took an early lead through a penalty by Pat Noble, but after just 6 minutes the out-half was forced to leave the action after suffering an unfortunate leg injury. This meant that they had to reshuffle their backline, with centre Tom Allen moving into No. 10 and substitute John Culkin coming into the centre.
However despite playing with the breeze Wegians were struggling to impose themselves, with some basic errors costing them dearly, especially the lineout where they struggled to retain much of their own ball, especially at crucial times.
And they were made to pay for it when Garryowen got their first try inside the opening quarter. When winger Barry Liddy was forced to retrieve a good clearance from home out-half Alan Purcell he was caught deep in possession, and from the subsequent turnover, Garryowen flanker Ross Callaghan barged over for the opening try, converted by scrum-half Gerry Hurley for a 7-3 lead. Wegians responded soon with a penalty by John Cleary, but they failed to capitalise on some territorial possession, finding it difficult to breach the well-organised home defence. Garryowen struck with a killer blow before half time when a well-worked move ended with their pacy winger Diarmuid O’Riordan taking an inside pass and rounding three defenders for an excellent score, Hurley again converting for a 14-6 half-time lead.
The home side stretched their lead on 50 minutes when lock Donal Sheehan finished off some strong pressure by diving over from a ruck, with Hurley again adding the points for a 21-6 lead. However Galwegians battled gamely and never gave up the fight. They were rewarded just before the hour mark when a well-worked move saw play switch right and an exquisite flick pass by Cleary sent in Barry Liddy for an excellent score in the corner. This reduced the margin to just ten points, and for a temporary spell Wegians were back into the game.
However the home side weathered the storm, their defence stood rock solid and no. 8 David Wallace, who cannot make the Munster team at the moment, proved he is still international class as he was clearly the outstanding player on view. The game was made safe when centre Ray Niland finished off another period of pressure by bursting through the cover for the all-important bonus score. Then just before the finish another excellent break by Wallace up the left resulted in substitute back David Heaton taking a scoring pass to complete the tally.
It was a slightly flattering scoreline, but there can be no doubt the home side were clearly the stronger team and deserving of the spoils. Wegians can now lick their wounds and know the areas where they have to work on before their next game away to Lansdowne on November 6.