Towards a century at the heart of Connacht rugby

Firsts 28 – Greystones 41

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Match Result

  • Result: Galwegians Firsts 28 - Greystones 41
  • Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Oct 19th 2019
  • Competition: AIL Division 2B

Match Report

Galwegians suffered a second straight defeat in Energia AIL Division 2B when they came up short against a strong Greystones side whose win saw them go top of the League table. However all was not lost for the Blues as their never-say-die spirit saw them eke out a late bonus point.

Playing with a stiff first-half breeze playing towards the Dublin Road end, a squally shower made for tricky playing conditions early doors. Despite soaking up some early pressure, Wegians took the lead in the 14th minute with a well-struck penalty by out-half Ewan Strang. However the visitors soon served notice of their intent, and they took the lead just three minutes later. It came from a mazy 40m run by their zippy young scrum-half Alex Ryan, who exposed some brittle home defence to dot down under the posts for a great individual try. Andrew Kealy added the extras for a 7-3 lead.

Wegians responded well and dominated the next ten minutes, using the wind to set up territory, despite losing centre Danny Faulkner and prop Ryan Lomas to injury early on. Strang tagged on a second penalty after missing a previous effort moments before, although this was soon cancelled out by the visitors through a Kealy pen under the posts. However the Blues regained the lead just on the half-hour when patient build-up play and forward pressure was rewarded when the ball was sped out to flying winger Sanz Sibande, who dived over in the right corner for an 11-10 lead.

Stones full-back Mark Meyler was binned for his trouble for a late sliding tackle into the scorer, but the Blues were unable to capitalise on the extra man. Instead it was the visitors who looked the more dangerous, and just before the break they went back in front when a storming burst down the right from their powerful lock forward Chris Simmonds saw him score their second try, giving them a 15-11 half-time lead.

Although the rain eased off, the wind did not relent and with the elements in their favour in the second-half, Stones wasted no time in taking advantage. Their other lock John Campbell was driven over under the posts for their third try in 42 minutes, Kealy adding the extras. Then on 47 minutes winger Paudie Geoghegan finished off a move on the left to seal the bonus point, and the visitors were seemingly out of sight at 27-11.

Credit the Blues though who were battling gamely especially up front. They went on the attack and inspirational leader and captain Marty Cummins scored their second try wide on the right on 54 minutes to narrow the gap and keep in touch. However Geoghegan exposed more soft home defence to complete a brace of tries minutes later to put more daylight between the teams at 16-34 entering the final quarter.

Wegians threw themselves a late lifeline when an excellent charge down led to a 75th minute try from sub centre Junior Kennedy, bringing them to within bonus point territory. With time running out they went on the attack again and when pressing the visitors line, the ball was swung wide with numbers outside. However cruelly for the hosts, ‘Stones out-half Killian Marmion snaffled an intercept to run the length of the pitch to score his side’s sixth try.

This seemed like a cruel blow to the Blues, but they showed remarkable determination and self-belief to give it one last shot. And when Stones hooker Darragh Higgins, son of the famous ex-Galwegian Aidan, got sin-binned deep in stoppage time, the Blues set up camp again on their line. Finally in the 87th minute, lock Eoin Tarmey got on the end of a series of pick and jams to get the ball over the line, for what could prove to be a crucial bonus point.

Next up for the Blues is an away tie the weekend after next when they face Blackrock College in Stradbrook.

Players

15. Conor O’Shaughnessy, 14. Sandile Sibande, 13. Sean O’Sullivan, 12. Daniel Faulkner, 11. Hugh Lane, 10. Ewan Strang, 9. Rory Gaffney ,1. Shane Ryan, 2. Christy Reilly, 3. Ryan Lomas, 4. Eoin Tarmey, 5. Marty Cummins (Captain), 6. Josh Dunne, 7. Paul Hackett, 8. Kieran Downey. Subs: Andrew Paton, Stephen Hyland, Matt Towey, Mohi Parata, James Kennedy

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