- Result: Galwegians Firsts 15 - Cork Constitution 19
- Venue: Temple Hill on Sat Jan 27th 2007
- Competition: AIL Division 1
For the second season running, Cork Con staged a smash and grab by scoring two late tries to deny Galwegians what could have been a crucial victory in AIB Division 1 in Temple Hill on Saturday. It was an agonising defeat for Wegians who looked like they would come home with the points after a stirring performance. But a combination of unfortunate late injuries and lapses of concentration cost them dearly as the League leaders stole the points to remain at the summit of the table, and probably deny Wegians any hope of a play-off spot.
Con were clear favourites in many people’s eyes coming into this game, unbeaten at home and not having lost in the League since October. But it was the Blues who got off to a great start when winger John Cleary scored his fourth try of the League campaign to give them a 5-0 lead. Stunned into action, Con then upped their game and they took the lead when winger and top-scorer Richie Lane finished a move to score his fifth try of the season, which he converted himself for a 7-5 lead. But Galwegians stuck to their task, and they soaked up some pressure from the home side before regaining the lead before the break, courtesy of a penalty from out-half Paddy O’Toole.
Then things looked even more promising for Wegians when they stretched their lead shortly after the restart. It was that man Cleary again who came off his wing to collect a scoring pass and crash over by the posts for his second try. O’Toole landed the conversion to give the Blues a healthy 15-7 lead. Con then tried to regain a foothold, and while they dominated much of the play, they were unable to pierce the Wegians rearguard who defended manfully. At one stage the home side managed to cross the try-line but they were held up by a determined Galwegians pack.
The Blues suffered a significant blow when they lost influential back-row and ex-Con player Brendan O’Connor through an arm injury on 53 minutes. But they continued to hold out with Con seemingly running out of ideas, until Wegians suffered two more key injuries as the game entered the final 10 minutes. Lock forward Andrew Browne and scrum-half Tom Tierney were both forced to retire, and with full-back Kieran Hickman sin-binned for killing ruck ball, Con seized their opportunity and scored a second try through winger Cronan Healy in the 72nd minute. Lane’s conversion from the touchline went over off the upright to reduce the gap to one point.
Although Wegians were forced to play prop Ray Hogan in the back-row for the final 10 minutes, they looked like holding out until disaster struck in the 79th minute, when out-half Darragh Lyons broke on the blindside and sent winger Lane crashing over for the winning score. Unfortunately there was virtually no time left for a shattered Wegians to stage a comeback, and so what should have been another big scalp got away from the Blues, not for the first time this season.
Wegians’ next game is away to Belfast Harlequins on Saturday February 3rd in the AIB Cup quarter-final.