- Result: Galwegians Firsts 27 - Greystones 17
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Feb 3rd 2018
- Competition: AIL Division 2A
After enduring a torrid run of ten games without a win, Galwegians’ luck finally took a turn for the better when they overcame Greystones in what was a must-win game for the Glenina boys on Saturday. However luck had little to do with it, as it was a thoroughly deserved victory for the Blues, who overcame a 17-0 deficit to run out bonus point winners in impressive fashion.
Wegians came into this game eight points from safety and in danger of getting marooned at the bottom of the table, and they were very much up against it in the first-half when they faced a stiff breeze. The visitors, who had started the season badly, came into the game in confident mood on the back of three wins from four, and they took the lead on 8 minutes. There was a hint of good fortune about it when a clearance kick was charged down on the Wegians 10m line, and ‘Stones winger Jack Keating was given the simple task of sauntering home under the posts for the opening try, with full-back and captain Andrew Kealy adding the extras for a 7-0 lead.
Despite facing the elements, Wegians were playing all the rugby early on, but they were unable to make their territory and possession count with a lack of cutting edge in their opponents 22. The visitors for their part soaked up the pressure and used the wind advantage to clear their lines. Kealy tagged on a penalty in the second quarter to stretch their lead, and shortly after the restart it got even better when they scored a second try. It came from a good backline move which unlocked the Wegians defence, and a clever chip through gave Keating ample time and space to bag his brace under the posts.
Another simple conversion from Kealy put the Co. Wicklow men 17-0 to the good and seemingly well in control. However Wegians’ response was excellent as they immediately hauled themselves back into the contest. Having won the restart, an excellent backline move saw passes finally stick, and veteran centre Brian Murphy finished strongly in the left corner for an excellent try.
Out-half Morgan Codyre was just wide with the difficult conversion into the teeth of the breeze, however the score gave the Blues a shot in the arm and they went about re-asserting their dominance. It got better for the hosts on 35 minutes when they added their second try, this time loose-head prop Pa Curran finishing off some patient attacking play by diving over on the right. Codyre was again just wide of the posts with his conversion, but the deficit was now reduced to 17-10 at half-time.
Wegians went into the second-half with the breeze at their backs, however they suffered an early scare when that man Keating broke through the cover searching for a hat-trick, but substitute full-back John Cleary, making a comeback from retirement, did brilliantly to hold up the big winger and force the concession of a penalty for holding on. Wegians then took full advantage when Codyre launched an attack with a great touchfinder, and moments later the promising young out-half then finished off an excellent move, taking a sweet pop pass from prop Jason East to scythe through the midfield and score under the posts.
The out-half tagged on the simple conversion to level the game, and as well as having the elements in their favour, the Blues now crucially had momentum. Their scrum was totally dominant, and when awarded a penalty near the ‘Stones 5m line on the hour mark, there was only one decision to be made as captain Marty Cummins called for a scrum. Another strong shunt had the visitors retreating rapidly, and referee Ken Imbusch promptly binned their loose-head Bobby Clancy. Another re-set and the inevitable happened, as this time the referee ran under the posts to award a penalty try.
This secured a bonus point for Wegians and they were looking good value for it. However they made life difficult for themselves when they conceded a penalty before the restart for obstruction, inviting Greystones into their 22 for a period of intense pressure. However the Blues defended manfully, keeping their line intact before forcing a knock-on and giving themselves a chance to clear. Then with the clock ticking, more Wegians’ pressure earned them a penalty near their opponents’ 22, and Codyre struck it sweetly to give his side a crucial ten-point cushion. The Blues then saw the game out comfortably to ensure a five-point swing over their opponents who went home empty-handed.
Besides the result, coaches Brian McClearn and Gavin Duffy will have been most encouraged by the performance which was probably their best of the season. Confidence will be high as they entertain high-flying Nenagh Ormond in a re-scheduled match this Friday night in Glenina (8pm), when the brothers Muldoon Ivan and Conor bring their promotion-chasing team to town. However Wegians have now given themselves a fighting chance of moving off the bottom of the League table as the season enters the closing stages.