- Result: Galwegians Firsts 27 - Buccaneers 10
- Venue: Crowley Park on Fri Dec 11th 2015
- Competition: Connacht Senior Cup
GALWEGIANS extracted revenge for losing their Connacht Senior League title when regaining the Connacht Senior Cup crown from Buccaneers on a wet and windy December Friday night under lights at Crowley Park.
Both teams were heavily depleted but in a test of their squad strength in depth, it was the Blues who came out on top to earn a Bateman Cup semi-final spot.
From the outset, Galwegians went on the attack with ball in hand but Buccaneers, playing into the strong wind, were aggressive in defence. An early penalty award to the Blues saw Dave Clarke open the scoring for a 3-0 lead. Buccs responded positively and on ten minutes they hit the front. It came after after a number of phases before winger Rory O’Connor was fed a scoring pass to dive over on the left for an unconverted try.
The hosts were slow to settle and over-anxious in their passing, causing a lot of spilled ball. Clarke was replaced early due to injury with Murphy moving to outhalf and substitute Shane Madden moving to centre. At this stage, Wegians used the wind frequently to bombard the Athlone side’s back three with a succession of garryowens, and after knocking on the door for several phases, the Buccs defence was eventually breached when Alan McMahon evaded two Buccs defenders on his way for an unconverted try wide on the right.
Cleary, who not for the first time proved a constant thorn in the visitors’ side, scored his side’s second try in the 25th minute after evading three tackles from the 10m line to score on the right, which he also converted for a 15-5 lead. Buccaneers then lost O’Connor to a head wound on 35 minutes, but right on half-time shortly his replacement Harry Hughes intercepted a loose pass on halfway and ran home unopposed for an unconverted try on the right, reducing arrears to 15-10 at halftime.
Galwegians recovered well though and went on the offensive straight from the resumption. After an excellent chip and chase, Murphy broke through on the right and exchanged passes with Marty Cummins before scoring an excellent unconverted try on the right. Shortly afterwards, Evan Galvin’s tackle on the line prevented an almost certain try near the right corner.
Although Buccs now had the wind, it was the Blues who kept asking serious questions. Unlike the holders, they were playing in their opponents’ half and putting on lots of pressure. Eventually this pressure told and Murphy scored his second try to the left of the posts after some weak tackling enroute from the Buccs defence. Cleary’s conversion completed the 27-10 scoreline. The rest of the match played out predictably with the result never in doubt as the stronger Wegians scrum and greater all-round potency saw them run out comfortable winners in the end.
Their reward is a home semi-final against Ulster Cup winners and Division 1a rivals Ballynahinch on Saturday January 16th in Crowley Park.