Towards a century at the heart of Connacht rugby

Firsts 24 – Banbridge 27


Match Result

  • Result: Galwegians Firsts 24 - Banbridge 27
  • Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Mar 30th 2013
  • Competition: AIL Division 2A
  • Match photos

Match Report

Galwegians ended their home Ulster Bank League Division 2a League campaign with a disappointing defeat in a try-fest against fellow midtable side Banbridge at a windswept Crowley Park on Easter Saturday.

With little to play for but pride, both sides were determined to play open flowing rugby, and the visitors soon opened their account in the third minute when a quick tapped penalty caught the Wegians defence napping and lock Philip Jordan dived over in the left corner, with scrum-half Ian Porter converting for a 7-0 lead.

However it was short-lived as the Blues were on level terms within two minutes, no. 8 Jonathan Gardiner barging over the line following a period of sustained pressure, with full-back Darragh Leader’s conversion levelling the game.

The Blues had the advantage of a stiff first-half breeze and were struggling to make the most of their territorial domination, with centre John Cleary knocking on at one stage when over the try-line. But they did take the lead in the 35th minute when the impressive scrum-half Barry Lee scored an opportunistic try when snaffling ball off the base of a Banbridge scrum to scamper home from 30 metres out. Leader’s conversion put them seven points to the good, but the Ulstermen hit back through a penalty from Porter just before half-time which was to ultimately prove decisive.

The game was won and lost in the third quarter. The visitors wasted little time in taking advantage of the elements when they went on the attack straight from the restart, and several phases later out-half Adam Doherty finished a move in the right-hand corner to put his side 15-14 in front. And five minutes later it got better for the Co. Down men when they scored a third try. This time hooker Peter Cromie burst through two tackles to score under the posts, with Porter’s conversion giving them an eight point cushion.

The Blues responded well and looked threatening when in the Banbridge 22, but turnover ball proved extremely costly as Banbridge centre Andy Morrison broke down the blind and fed winger John Porter who scored the killer fourth try just before the hour. 27-14 to the good, it looked as if the visitors could run riot at this stage against a bewildered Wegians.

However not for the first time this season, the Blues showed great character in adversity. They worked their way back into the game with some incisive line breaks, and when the visitors had their number 8 Jonny Graham in the bin, they piled on the pressure and substitute winger Dave Symes crossed near the left corner for a third try to put them back into the game.

With eight minutes to go, more patient play and possession created the chance for hooker Conor Muldoon, and he bulldozed his way over the line for a bonus fourth try. Leader was off target with the difficult conversion attempts leaving it a three-point game entering the final phase. However the visitors wisely used the elements to close the game out in the Wegians 22, and they went home with the win and five points.

In many ways this game summed up a disappointing season for Wegians, as despite having an utterly dominant pack, they failed to take their opportunities and some defensive lapses cost them dearly. Their final League game is away to Highfield on April 14th.


Galwegians: 1. Ja Naughton, 2. Conor Muldoon, 3. Jason East, 4. Anthony Ryan, 5. Brian McClearn, 6. Ross Fitzgerald, 7. Ivan Muldoon, 8. Jonathan Gardiner, 9. Barry Lee , 10. Dave Clarke, 11. Paddy Finn, 12. Colin Conroy (captain), 13. John Cleary, 14. Ger Brady, 15. Darragh Leader. Subs: Doran McHugh, Eddie Earle, Paul Hackett, Conor O’Rourke, Dave Symes

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