- Result: Galwegians Firsts 15 - Belfast Harlequins 39
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Oct 15th 2011
- Competition: AIL Division 1B
Galwegians suffered their third successive defeat in the AIL Division 1b when they were comprehensively outgunned by Ulster side Belfast Harlequins at Crowley Park on Saturday, coughing up six tries in the process.
Having lost their opening two games, Wegians were desperate to kickstart their season. But they got off to a very poor start when Quins debutant scrum-half Ian Porter broke from the base of a scrum on the 22m line and cut through the defensive cover for the opening try. Full-back Micheal Heaney converted for a 7-0 lead.
The hosts responded well and out-half Tadhg Leader was narrowly wide with a long-range penalty from the restart. But they were level within five minutes, following a clever box kick by scrum-half Dave Moore which forced an attacking lineout. And following clean lineout ball and a series of pick and drives, Wegians flanker Isaac O’Grady crossed for a try, which was excellently converted by Leader.
Playing with the aid of a stiff breeze, Quins dominated the second quarter and their pack were bossing the scrums, winning a series of penalties against the home pack in the set-piece. However full-back Heaney was wide with two long-range penalty attempts, and they had to wait till the 30th minute to regain the lead when Wegians centre Brian Murphy was sin-binned for deliberate offside, and this time Heaney struck his penalty between the posts.
The visitors continued to dominate with the extra man advantage, but just when it looked like Wegians would hold out, they were finally undone in the final play of the opening half when Quins out-half Stuart Olding made a break and fed his centre Michael Allen who dived over in the right-hand corner for his side’s second try.
This put Quins 15-7 up at the break, but the hosts made the brighter start to the second half, and in the 43rd minute Leader landed an excellent penalty to reduce arrears to 15-10. Wegians continued to dominate both territory and possession but were unable to make either count on the scoreboard. And they suffered a hammer blow in the 50th minute when a sucker punch attack saw Quins flanker Andrew Gillespie finish off finish off a well-worked move near the left-hand corner for try number three, and a 20-10 lead.
Wegians never seemed to recover from this, and with the penalty count continuing to mount against them, it seemed only a matter of time before the visitors would secure a fourth bonus point try. It duly arrived on the hour mark when referee Ollie Hodges awarded a penalty try after another strong scrum by Quins had the hosts back-pedalling near their posts.
Unfortunately this seemed to signal a collapse by a dispirited-looking Wegians, and almost right from the restart Quins right-winger Rory Blake-Knox seemed to have the freedom of the park to cross on the right and dive under the posts for a fifth try. The hosts showed a flicker of interest and some fighting spirit when Leader finished off an attack with a jinking run to score a late consolation try near the left corner.
But it was the visitors who had the final say, when in the last play of the game substitute back Matt Holmes also got in on the act to score his side’s sixth try. This put some gloss on a very satisfying day’s work for the Belfast side, and ensured it was a miserable day at the office to forget for Wegians.
Next up for the Blues is an away trip to another Ulster side, Ballymena on Saturday week October 29th. The Blues badly need to re-discover their confidence and take some points from this game as they are marooned at the foot of the Division 1b League table with no points after just three games played.