- Result: Galwegians Firsts 18 - Buccaneers 6
- Venue: Dubarry Park on Sat Sep 17th 2011
- Competition: Connacht Senior League
Galwegians regained the Connacht Senior League title at the expense of defending champions and AIL Division 1 arch-rivals Buccaneers at Dubarry Park Athlone on Saturday.
This winner-takes-all clash was slow to get out of the blocks, with play in the opening quarter largely confined to the middle of the pitch and neither side able to make an early impression. The very wet conditions certainly did not help matters, and both had early penalty opportunities which went abegging. However the deadlock was eventually broken just after the half hour when Wegians debutant full-back James Loxton showed a great turn of pace to make an outside break and score a try in the right-hand corner. The conversion was missed leaving the visitors just 5-0 to the good, but just before half-time Buccs debutant out-half Stuart Flynn landed a penalty to reduce arrears to 5-3.
Things started to look up for the Buccs early in the second-half when a second Flynn penalty put the hosts in front for the first time. However this served to reignite Wegians and they soon regained the initiative. Taking the game to their opponents, out-half Dave Clarke struck a 50th minute penalty to put their noses back in front. Flynn had another opportunity to put Buccs back in front shortly after, but his penalty kick came back off the upright. And the hosts were made pay a few minutes later when the visitors were awarded another penalty, and Clarke split the posts again to stretch their lead to 11-6.
The clinching score came just after the hour mark following a concerted period of Galwegians pressure when inside centre Brian Murphy burst through two tackles to score his side’s second try under the posts, and Clarke tagged on the easy conversion to put some daylight between the sides. Buccs now had to force the game in the final quarter, and although they predictably came under some sustained pressure, the Blues held out comfortably in the end to secure a decisive and deserved victory and claim their first silverware of season 2011-12.
Wegians now look forward to their opening AIL Division 1b fixture when they entertain Ulster side Ballynahinch at Crowley Park on Saturday October 1st (2.30pm).