- Result: Galwegians Firsts 21 - Corinthians 13
- Venue: Crowley Park on Fri Feb 27th 2015
- Competition: AIL Division 1B
- Match photos
Galwegians remain at the summit of UBL Division 1b following a deserved win in a cracking local derby at home to city rivals Corinthians on Friday night under lights at Crowley Park.
This may have been top versus bottom, however these derbies rarely go to form, and with the Glynn Cup also at stake there was a lot play for. The visitors proved as much when they came right out of the traps, and playing with the aid of a stiff first-half breeze, they made the perfect start and stunned their hosts by scoring the opening try after 5 minutes. It came following a period of sustained pressure, with centre Cian Begley diving over from the base of a ruck. Out-half Conor Murphy added the conversion to give his side an early 7-0 lead.
However Wegians have shown great resilience all season and once again they recovered well after conceding a score. They soon gained a stranglehold on proceedings, and young out-half Aidan Moynihan soon had a chance to reduce arrears, but his 30m penalty rebounded back off the post. However it proved a blessing in disguise, as the Blues kept their visitors pinned in their own territory. Shortly afterwards Moynihan placed a deft chip through the onrushing defence, and the in-form Rory Parata did brilliantly to not only win the ball, but also evade the attentions of two defenders and cross for an excellent try, his second in successive games. This time Moynihan found his range with a super conversion out wide into the teeth of the breeze to level proceedings.
The Blues now had the bit between their teeth, and before the first quarter was up they had taken the lead. A penalty to the corner saw a trademark lineout maul rumble forward, and following a few pick and drives, scrum-half Barry Lee sniped over near the right-corner for a second try. Moynihan was off-target this time, giving the hosts a 12-7 lead.
However Corinthians responded well and wisely used the elements to set up camp in the Wegians 22. They threatened to score a second try but were held up just short of the line, and they had to settle for a penalty by Murphy on the half-hour mark to reduce the deficit to 12-10. They continued to hold the upper hand in territory for the remainder of the first-half, but they were unable to add to their tally as the Wegians defence held sway, and indeed the hosts looked the more threatening when in possession.
The Blues came out of the traps at the start of the second-half, and within barely a minute of the restart Moynihan had restored their five-point advantage with a close-range penalty. Five minutes later the Macroom native added another three-pointer from out right, and the Blues were good value for their eight-point lead. They were continuing to pile on the pressure, pinning the visitors deep in their 22. And when Corinthians had captain James Buckley sin-binned by referee Andy Brace on 54 minutes for a high tackle, their plight seemed rather hopeless and there only looked like being one winner at this stage.
However the visitors deserve great credit for working their way back into the game. With the wind easing off and Wegians suddenly kicking away too much possession, Corinthians gained heart from some line-breaks, with Connacht squad member Ultan Dillane to the fore in piercing the home rearguard. Having survived the ten minute period with a man down, suddenly the Cloonacauneen men were galvanised. They now had an extra man themselves when Wegians winger Matt Dever was binned on 65 minutes, as referee Brace lost patience with the hosts’ mounting penalty count. Murphy landed the resulting penalty to reduce arrears again to just five points, and it was very much game on.
Corinthians went on to dominate the next ten minutes, and although they tried gallantly to exploit their numerical advantage, the home defence managed to hold their line and keep them at bay with some disciplined and committed tackling. When the visitors knocked on near the line, another solid Wegians scrum gave sub scrum-half Caolin Blade the chance to put in a monster clearance kick which took play back up to halfway, and with that the visitors’ chance was gone.
With parity of numbers restored and sub winger Colin Conroy on for the final few minutes, the Blues regained the upper hand and closed out comfortably. Indiscipline then cost Corinthians dearly, as backchat gave Moynihan a shot at goal. And although it fell short, it was soon followed by another attack near the line by Parata which resulted in a frustrated Begley getting binned for deliberate interference. Moynihan then tapped over the simple penalty in front of the posts to make the game safe for Wegians.
Shortly afterwards referee Brace blew up for full-time, much to the joy and relief of the home fans and the intense disappointment of the visitors, who will have felt their efforts deserved at least a bonus point. However this result confirms Wegians’ standing as the current kingpins of Connacht senior club rugby, having followed up their Connacht Senior League win last autumn with a UBL double over both their provincial rivals Corinthians and Buccaneers. Adrian Glynn then presented the Glynn Cup to winning captain Ja Naughton after the game.
Garryowen’s bonus point victory over UL Bohs has reduced Wegians’s lead to a solitary point as the season enters a crucial final phase with three game rounds remaining. Next up for Wegians is an away trip to a struggling but dangerous Malone side in Belfast on Saturday March 7th.
Replacements: C Blade, C Conroy, C Gavin, K Kyne, M Towey.