- Result: Galwegians Firsts 12 - Buccaneers 6
- Venue: Crowley Park on Fri Jan 30th 2015
- Competition: AIL Division 1B
Galwegians stay at the top of Division 1b after completing the double over Connacht rivals Buccaneers under lights last Friday night at Crowley Park on Friday Jan. 30th. It was a game that lacked the excitement of their earlier League encounter at Dubarry Park in October. However despite the narrow margin, there was no doubting Galwegians superiority on the night, as but for some poor finishing they would have run out as more emphatic victors.
Both sides had early chances to open their account. Buccs out-half Callum Boland scuffed a penalty attempt in the opening minute, and on ten minutes Wegians’ no. 10 Aidan Moynihan was just off target with a penalty into the breeze. However the visitors drew first blood near the end of a cagey opening quarter when centre Alan Gaughan landed an excellent penalty from near the left touchline.
Wegians then began to assert their superiority, particularly up front where their set-piece looked extremely solid. However they were unable to convert possession and territory into points on the board, with the final pass proving elusive. They were also getting on the wrong side of referee Gary Conway too often, particularly at the breakdown where they were being regularly pinged.
Moynihan was just short with a second penalty attempt into the wind on the half-hour, and as the hosts were getting frustrated with their lack of points, Buccs doubled their lead on 39 minutes. When another Wegians attack was overturned inside the Buccs 22, the visitors broke downfield and Blues captain Ja Naughton was binned by referee Conway for killing the ball near his 22. Shortly afterwards Gaughan stroked over from in front of the posts for a 6-0 lead, very much against the run of play.
However the Blues almost got on the scoresheet from the restart when winger Jerome Harrimate created something out of nothing. However when another final pass was mistimed, the scrambling Buccs defence turned ball over and managed to clear their lines, taking a 6-point lead into the half-time break.
Playing with a favourable second-half breeze, Wegians resumed where they left off and immediately set up camp deep inside the Buccs 22. However they continued to be frustrated by their inability to make it count, and Conway was penalising their dominant scrum on more than one occasion, much to the relief of the visiting pack. However there was an inevitability that the Buccs defence would crack eventually, and the surprising thing is that it took almost an hour for the Blues to open the scoring.
The turning point came when Buccs winger Billy Henshaw was binned for taking out scrum-half Caolin Blade in the air. Then following a kick to the corner, clean line-out ball gave Blade the chance to attack open space, and he popped a short pass to the inrushing centre Rory Parata who burst through the cover to score the opening try. Moynihan then found his range from near the touchline with an expertly judged conversion, and suddenly the Blues were in front.
Two minutes later and the clinching second score arrived. When quick ball created a 3 on 1 overlap, full back Shane Leyden deliberately knocked on to prevent what seemed a certain score. Referee Conway again reached for his pocket, and following another kick to the corner and a rumble forward, substitute Gary O’Brien dived over from close range to score. The conversion was wide meaning the game was still delicately poised at 12-6 entering the final stages. Truth be told, Buccs’ only incursions into Wegians’ territory in the second half was from the restarts. Moynihan made good use of the boot to set up territory, and with the weather deteriorating further, Wegians’ dominance upfront saw them comfortably hold out as they kept their opponents pinned deep inside their 22 for the remainder of the game.
While the margin was more slender than it might have been, there was no doubting the better side won and Buccs will have been relieved to escape with a bonus point. This win keeps Wegians one clear of Garryowen on a weekend where the top four all won.
J Cleary; M Dever, B Murphy, R Parata, J Harrimate; A Moynihan, C Blade; J Naughton (capt.), C Gavin, D.McHugh; M.Cummins, A Ryan; J Pimm, P Hackett, M Towey.
Replacements: B Lee, G O’Brien, P Finn, P O’Donnell, C Kyne.