- Result: Galwegians Firsts 45 - Dolphin 15
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Jan 6th 2007
- Competition: AIL Division 1
Galwegians turned in a superb performance and displayed clinical finishing when they ran in seven tries against a hapless Dolphin side to record an emphatic victory at Crowley Park on the first Saturday of the New Year.
Wegians needed a good victory to get back into a challenging position in Division 1, and they played with the aid of a stiff sea breeze blowing down towards the Mervue end in the opening half. The Blues took time to settle, conceding some early penalties against a plucky Dolphin pack, but once they got the all-important breakthrough they never looked back.
This arrived in the 15th minute when they were awarded a scrum near halfway following a crooked Dolphin throw-in, and from a set-play, centre Anthony Barrett burst through the cover and sent a long pass to winger Conor McPhillips whose lightning speed was enough to round his marker and score the opening try on the left. Barrett’s centre partner Nick Wakley judged the wind perfectly to land the conversion, and 3 minutes later the Welshman charged down a poor clearance attempt by Dolphin full-back Ed Mills to gather and score a second try, also in the left corner. And for good measure he landed an even more difficult conversion to double the home side’s lead to 14-0.
By the 25th minute the Blues then completed a ten-minute purple patch with try number three. This time flanker Matt Lacey accepted a pass from Wakely on the left wing and he used all his strength, power and pace to cross for an excellent score under the posts, with Wakley’s simple conversion making it 21-0. Although Wegians prop Denis O’Brien was sin-binned on 30 minutes, the visitors were unable to capitalise. And just before the break Wegians had already bagged a bonus point when the excellent no. 8 Brendan O’Connor broke the cover and unselfishly fed Wakely a scoring pass for his second try of the day, which he duly converted for a 28-0 half-time lead.
In the second-half the stiffening breeze gave the visitors faint hope, but with O’Brien back on the field again they met a solid Galwegian defence, and they had to settle for a solitary Barry Keeshan penalty in the 50th minute. Then minutes later Wegians made the game safe when a break from McPhillips and good support from full-back Kieran Hickman set up an attack, and an overlap saw Denis O’Brien score try number 5 to make the game safe.
The visitors battled gamely, and they staged a mini-revival with two tries in a seven minute spell. First lock Dave Harty charged down a kick from the otherwise impressive Wegians out-half Peter Durcan in the 63rd minute, and then substitute back David Griffin finished a move on the left for a second try, with Keeshan’s conversion reducing arrears to 33-15.
However Wegians steadied the ship, and they finished in style with two tries in the dying minutes. First McPhillips, who finished the game playing as replacement scrum-half, finished off some excellent work by winger John Cleary when he made a blindside break to leave the cover for dead and canter home for his sixth try of the AIL campaign. Then centre Barrett saved the best for last when his scorching pace ripped through the cover from the 10 metre line to score his fifth AIL try.
This was the second time this season that the Blues have scored seven tries, and they will hope to reproduce this form over the next two weekends when they host Dungannon in the AIL Cup first round (January 13), and then a crucial League game at home to joint-leaders Clontarf on January 20.
Conversions: Nick Wakley (4), Paddy O'Toole. Dolphin Scorers:
Tries: Dave Harty, David Griffin; Penalty: Barry Keeshan; Conversion: Barry Keeshan. Dolphin squad: Ed Mills (sub: David Griffin, 63); Dave O'Connell, Peter Owens, John O'Mahony (sub: Jack Purcell, 63), Kevin Lynch; Barry Keeshan, Gary O'Keeffe; Fergus Gately (sub: Richie McKinnie, 53), Kieran Murray (sub: Shane Heffernan, 63), John O'Sullivan, Rory McGrath, captain (sub: Dave Pomeroy, 53), Dave Harty, George Finn, Alan Daly, Donnchadha Murphy.