- Result: Galwegians Firsts 44 - Highfield 3
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Nov 23rd 2013
- Competition: AIL Division 2A
- Match photos
Galwegians maintained their 100% home record with their third bonus point win of the season after a six-try demolition of bottom-of-the-table side Highfield on Saturday.
Although given no chance by the pundits, the visitors made a decent start with their big pack putting it up to the much-vaunted Wegians front eight. However although they were awarded the first three penalties of the game, their attacking threat was limited. Wegians soon got into their stride, and two penalties from out-half Ross Shaughnessy gave them a 6-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. Then the opening try came on 25 minutes from a trademark Wegians lineout move, Dave Nolan’s clean take leading to a well-organised rumble over the line with Ja Naughton emerging with the ball.
Moments later Naughton went from hero to villain as he was controversially binned for a tip tackle, and not long after the Blues were reduced to 13, when he was followed to the bin by flanker Eddie Earle. However the Cork side could only muster three points from a penalty by ex-Corinthian Mick O’Flynn. And just before the break, Wegians struck a killer blow when a good break down the right wing by Colin Conroy and a neat pea-flick pass inside to Brian Murphy saw the Connacht centre dive over for a second try. Shaughnessy converted to make it 16-3 at the break.
At the start of the second-half Wegians were bizarrely shown a third yellow card when Nolan went into the bin this time. However it offered little respite to the visitors. O’Flynn missed a kickable penalty to reduce arrears, and when a penalty was reversed in Wegians’ favour from the restart, a kick to the corner led to try number three. Once again the maul made its way ominously forwards, and sub scrum-half Caolin Blade scored this third try off the bench this season when he darted over from close range.
Shaughnessy’s conversion made it 23-3, and it did not take the Blues long to secure the bonus fourth try which came on 50 minutes. Once again the foundation came from the pack, and following a series of pick and go’s, Naughton again crossed for his second and Wegians’ fourth try, with Shaughnessy again converting to make it 30-3.
The visitors’ morale then completely collapsed, and Wegians threatened to run riot. The pack were completely on top, with impressive performances again from the front row, second-row Nolan imperious throughout, and last year’s Irish schoolboy international Sean O’Brien putting in an excellent full senior debut at no. 8. A fifth try soon followed for the Blues, when more forward pressure create a four-man overlap with Murphy crossing for his second try.
Highfield went in search of a consolation score right at the death, but Wegians’ coach Corey Brown will have been impressed with his team’s desire to hold their defensive line intact, as the visitors could find no way through a solid wall of Blue. Then right at the death, the excellent Shaughnessy intercepted a loose pass and sprinted fully 80 metres to score under the posts for a sixth try to confirm their superiority on the day.
This win puts Wegians into joint second place after gameweek five, and next up is a crucial game this Saturday away to Co. Down side Banbridge, who caused the shock of the day when they beat leaders Ballymena. It will be a tough test, but Wegians will go into this game with confidence oozing in their veins, and on this form no side will relish taking them on.
15. Gavin Tynan, 14. Colin Conroy, 13. Jerome Harrimate, 12. Brian Murphy, 11. John Cleary, 10. Ross Shaughnessy, 9. Barry Lee, 1. Ja Naughton, 2. Conor Muldoon, 3. Doran McHugh, 4. Dave Nolan, 5. Brian McClearn, 6. Eoin Rooney, 7. Eddie Earle, 8. Sean O’Brien. Subs: Caolin Blade, Rory Parata , Ross Fitzgerald, Anthony Ryan, Jason East.