- Result: Galwegians Firsts 19 - Cashel 14
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Oct 26th 2013
- Competition: AIL Division 2A
Galwegians secured an impressive win away to a strong Cashel side to make it two wins on the bounce in the Ulster Bank League Div. 2a.
This game was always going to be test of Wegians’ promotion prospects, as the Tipperarymen are a hard nut to crack at home, having lost only once at Spafield last year. And having lost their first away League fixture, albeit against promotion favourites Ballymena, the Blues knew they could ill-afford to lose another game on their travels.
The wet and blustery conditions would have suited the visitors and their strong forward unit, but they met an impressive home pack who were giving as good as they got in the earlier exchanges. However Wegians gradually began to exert their influence, and indeed it was the forwards who created the breakthrough on 26 minutes. It followed a lineout in the Cashel 22, and a trademark Wegians rolling maul saw them work their way up to the line, with their two props combining as Ja Naughton fed Doran McHugh who dived over for the opening try. Out-half Ross Shaughnessy converted, but just before the break the hosts opened their account with a penalty by full-back Pat O’Connor to leave it 7-3 at half-time.
Cashel started the second-half with a slight breeze advantage, and a second penalty from O’Connor on 45 minutes reduced the gap to a single point. However the game began to open up more, and it was the Blues who seized the initiative. A good break by centre Jerome Harrimate on 50 minutes set up an attacking line-out, and a clean take and quick ball to the backs saw full-back John Cleary enter the line and score his side’s second try near the corner on what was his first AIL start of the season.
Although unconverted, this gave the Blues a 12-6 cushion, and they were good value for their lead. However they had to wait till the 72nd minute to make the game safe with their third try, and it came following an explosive burst from half-way by centre Brian Murphy who found a gap through the opposition centre, and the Shrule native could not be caught as he raced home to touch down under the posts. Cleary converted to make it 19-6.
Wegians had a chance to secure a vital bonus point fourth try late on when a penalty scrum under the posts was shunting forward towards the Cashel try-line line. However referee Richard Kerr bizarrely ordered Wegians no. 8 Dan McCabe to play the ball early, and the Kerryman was turned over and Cashel cleared their lines. Wegians saw two late sin-binnings for locks Brian McClearn and Anthony Ryan, and this let the visitors back into the game. In the 75th minute they scored a consolation try from forward John Ed O’Connor. And although the conversion was missed, Pat O’Connor was given the chance to redeem himself in the last minute with a penalty, which he duly landed to secure a losing bonus point.
So Wegians came home with a deserved four points which they would certainly have settled for at the start of the game, but felt slightly disappointed not to have gained a bonus point in the process. This makes it two wins out of three for the Blues who are up to seventh place in the League. Next Saturday (Nov. 2nd) they have a vital home fixture against Queens University who currently lie in third place, but just a solitary point ahead of Wegians.