- Result: Galwegians Firsts 28 - UCD 3
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Mar 21st 2009
- Competition: AIL Division 1
Galwegians ended their poor recent run and banished any lingering relegation fears with a comprehensive win against a poor UCD side in AIL Division 1 on Saturday at Crowley Park.
Played in glorious sunny conditions, Wegians played with a slight wind advantage in the opening half. They dominated right from the outset, with their pack clearly in the ascendancy and their backs looking lively too on against the much-vaunted albeit understrength student backline. However one area where they clearly struggled early on was in the penalty count, with Ulster ref Michael Black awarding seven penalties to one for the away side in the opening quarter.
But the breakthrough came in the 20th minute when a half-break by the outstanding debutant out-half Ross Shaughnessy created an opening. And from quickly recycled ball, winger and leading try-scorer John Cleary barged over near the right-hand corner for the opening try. Although full-back Rob O’Beirn was narrowly wide with the conversion attempt, this should have spurred on the Blues to extend their lead, as but for the odd incursion into opposition territory and the rare threat of a breakaway try, the students seemed to offer little in resistance.
Yet for all their dominance Wegians were unable to take their chances, even with two UCD forwards in the sin-bin at one stage, and they spurned a host of try-scoring opportunities due to a series of unforced errors. However two late Rob O’Beirn penalties, including one excellent strike near half-way, provided a much-needed buffer to extend their lead to 11-0 at the break.
With the slight wind at their backs in the second-half, the students immediately made inroads on the scoreboard when winger Simon Gillespie landed a long-range penalty within seconds of the re-start. Suddenly Wegians’ lead was looking decidedly fragile, and a true character test awaited for the Blues. However fears of any capitulation were to be proven unfounded as the next 40 minutes saw them produce one of their best performances of the season.
Their much larger pack were utterly dominant in all aspects of play, both in the set-piece and the loose. Wegians restored their eleven point lead in the 53rd minute when O’Beirn landed a difficult penalty into the teeth of the wind, and they were full value for it. Although they lost flanker Liam Scahill to the bin two minutes later, the Blues remained totally in control. And the killer score duly arrived in the 66th minute, when man of the match Shaughnessy took a pass from scrum-half Kieran Campbell 30 metres out and scythed through the cover at searing pace to leave the UCD defence for dead, touching down near the posts for a magnificent solo try. O’Beirn landed the conversion for good measure, leaving the Blues home and hosed at 21-3.
Galwegians re-inforced their dominance late on when a simple line-out move & maul saw Dave Nolan emerge with the ball over the whitewash for a third try, with O’Beirn tagging on another excellent convert. The Blues ran out of time to secure the bouns point which would have been fair reward for their efforts, but no one was complaining at the end about the four valuable league points which they earned to all but mathematically eliminate any relegation worries.