- Result: Galwegians Firsts 41 - Lansdowne 20
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Oct 3rd 2015
- Competition: AIL Division 1A
Firsts stun League champions Lansdowne with five try performance
Galwegians produced arguably their best ever result in their AIL history when they outgunned and outplayed the current All-Ireland League champions Lansdowne with a stunning five-try performance at Crowley Park on Saturday.
Having lost their last two outings away to Dublin opposition, the Blues were eager to put in a good performance and get back to winning ways. They started with intent and took an early lead with a third minute penalty by out half Aidan Moynihan. The visitors soon levelled through a scrum penalty which was converted by out-half Scott Deasy, however the visiting captain was guilty of a poor miss from in front of the posts on 15 minutes. Wegians made their opponents pay when they took the lead themselves two minutes later after some excellent work by centre Brian Murphy was rewarded with a penalty, which Moynihan converted to restore their three-point advantage.
Despite the hosts making the livelier start, it was the visitors who scored the first try of the game just before the half-hour mark. When Wegians failed to make touch with a penalty from inside their 22, the Lansdowne backline ran it back with menace, creating an overlap for winger Mark Roche who dotted down near the right corner. Deasy missed the difficult conversion to give his side a narrow 8-6 lead.
The hosts though refused to panic and they took up where they left off to go on the offensive. They deservedly regained the lead just before half-time when a fine burst by the impressive prop Jason East punctured the defence, and the move was finished with aplomb by centre Brian Murphy who dived over in the left-hand corner. Moynihan then struck a perfect conversion to split the posts and give his side a 13-8 lead at the break.
In a clear statement of intent for the second-half, Wegians coach Matt Brown brought on Caolin Blade at scrum-half and one of the club’s own underage products Darragh Leader, returning from injury, for his first game of the season at full-back. However two minutes after the restart, they were again punished ruthlessly for a kicking error. It came when Blade had his first box-kick charged down by Joe O’Brien, and the flanker touched down for his side’s second try which Deasy converted for a two-point lead. However any fears by the home fans that the champions would settle into their stride and pull clear proved completely unfounded.
Once again the Blues responded to a score concession in impressive style, going on the attack almost immediately. Within five minutes they were back in front when a strong period of pressure on the Lansdowne line yielded a penalty, and Moynihan tapped it over for a one-point advantage. With their gander up, the Blues sensed their much-vaunted opponents were there for the taking, and the Wegians pack was now firmly in the ascendancy, providing a strong platform to their threatening backs.
In the final half-hour there was really only one team in it as the Blues put the League champions to the sword. The hugely impressive winger Ed O’Keeffe bagged his second brace of tries in consecutive games before the hour mark was up. On 51 minutes the Limerickman took a pass and ran a tremendous line, showing pace, strength and determination to scorch over in the left corner at the clubhouse end. Then seven minutes later he dived over in exactly the same spot following a sweet right to left backline move, with Leader prominent in creating the opening.
Although neither try was converted, the Blues were now eleven points in the clear and very good value for it. Following another bout of pressure, Leader gave them a fourteen-point cushion on 65 minutes with a neatly struck drop-goal. The home pack continued to work tirelessly and crucially held their discipline to not allow the visitors get back into the game. When they finally did make a foray into the Wegians 22 with ten minutes remaining, another trojan defensive effort by Murphy saw him clear his lines to take play back into opposition territory.
The crowning glory came in the 73rd minute when the Blues scored a fully deserved bonus try. Some wonderful feet from Leader saw him dance around the visiting defence, and when his work was carried on by Blade, he fed the supporting Ciaran Gaffney who dived over in the right-corner for a quite magnificent try, to the obvious delight of the home support.
With the game now won, the Blues momentarily lost concentration from the restart and allowed Lansdowne in for a soft try a minute later, with centre Tom Farrell crossing for his side’s third try.This gave the visitors a sniff of a chance of salvaging two late bonus points. However Wegians finished the game in style, and as they continued to pound away at the line, the industrious flanker Josh Pim dived over near the posts in the last minute for try number five.
Moynihan’s conversion gave them a 21-point final winning margin, and while this result will have sent shockwaves throughout the land, it was far from flattering for Wegians and no more than they deserved.
This was a near complete performance by the newly promoted Blues, and one which proves they are very much worthy of their place at the highest altar of Irish club rugby.