Towards a century at the heart of Connacht rugby

Firsts 39 – Armagh 36


Match Result

  • Result: Galwegians Firsts 39 - Armagh 36
  • Venue: Armagh RFC on Sat Apr 7th 2018
  • Competition: AIL Division 2A

Match Report

A last-gasp penalty from Morgan Codyre saw Galwegians secure a dramatic victory in Armagh on Saturday in a quite extraordinary game which has given the Blues a major lifeline in their battle against relegation from UBL Division 2A.

This was a 10-try thriller which rained tries from start to finish, and amazingly Wegians never led until the 81stminute. However their timing was immaculate, both in terms of taking the lead in this game, but more crucially in bagging five crucial points in their battle against relegation with just one game round remaining.

Their hosts Armagh came into this game still harbouring hopes of a promotion play-off spot, and having comfortably won at Crowley Park last September, they confidently set about their business. They took an early lead with a try from Evan Crommie, converted by Cormac Fox. However Wegians responded in kind with a try from scrum-half Richie Fahy converted by Codyre. The pattern continued when Armagh scored a second converted try through Andrew Smyth, only to be cancelled out by the Blues when hooker Pa Curran dotted down, with Codyre again adding the extras.

Wegians’ lock Matt Towey was binned which put added pressure on the visiting forwards, and by the half-hour the hosts made them pay by scoring their third try through Neil Faloon, with Fox tagging on both the conversion and a soon after penalty to suddenly go ten points in front. However Wegians showed great heart and served note of their refusal to lie down, when Fahey finished off a forward rumble to score his second try to reduce the margin to just five points. However this was undone in first-half stoppage time when poor defence saw them concede a penalty try, which gave Armagh a seemingly comfortable 31-19 half-time lead.

With their defence creaking, the young Wegians side seemed set to face another uncomfortable 40 minutes, but they again showed great heart by taking the game to their opponents. Their inspiration came from veteran full-back John Cleary who showed blistering pace which belied his years to score his side’s fourth and bonus try. Codyre converted and shortly afterwards he added a penalty, and suddenly the gap was back down to just two points.

However the see-saw nature of this game contined and shortly after the hour mark, Ryan Purvis scored a fifth try for Armagh, which restored a seven-point lead. Not to be outdone, the Blues again responded in kind and they got their reward for their attacking endeavour when substitute Ryan Dixon scored Wegians’ fifth try on 72 minutes. Codyre again kept his nerve to land a great conversion and suddenly the sides were level.

The final few minutes were all about who had the greater desire, and the Blues came up trumps. Winger Rory Gaffney almost created the breakthrough, and with the game entering the dying minutes, Armagh were penalised following a 22m drop-out. Codyre again stepped up and split the posts from 30ms out to seal a quite stunning victory.

This result has serious implications for the basement of the League table, and defeat at home to Greystones in another see-saw contest means that city rivals Corinthians are propping up the table five points in arrears before this week’s final round of fixtures. This means the Cloonacauneen men have to secure a bonus point win away to Queens next week to overhaul Wegians, otherwise they will face the automatic drop.

However Wegians will be looking for a win at home to Cashel on Saturday, as they seek to avoid a playoff against one of the runner-up sides from Division 2B.


John Cleary; Daniel Faulkner, Brian Murphy, Dave Clarke, Rory Gaffney; Morgan Codyre, Richie Fahey; Conor Kyne, Pa Curran, Jason East; Matt Towey, Anthony Ryan (captain); Ryan Wilson, Paul Hackett, Michael O’Donnell. Subs: Chris Reilly, Martin Fox, Ross Mooney, Bryan Dixon, Eamonn Dowling.

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