- Result: Galwegians Firsts 5 - Dublin University 35
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Dec 20th 2014
- Competition: AIL Division 1B
Galwegians suffered their biggest AIL defeat in a few years when they were outplayed by a determined and in-form Trinity side at College Park on Saturday.
It was a bad day at the office for the League leaders who were well off the pace, allowing the students to dictate as they extended their own winning streak in the division to seven matches and now making them serious contenders for promotion.
Trinity set the tone and they took an early lead when their outstanding German underage international centre Sebastian Fromm crossed in the corner for a fifth minute try. Things then went from bad to worse for the Blues when seven minutes later tighthead prop Tom Collis plunged over for a second unconverted effort from a maul, meaning the Blues found themselves 10-0 down before the game had effectively started.
Despite this, the Blues have managed to overcome similar or worse deficits in three of their earlier victories this season in UBL Division 1b, so there should have been no cause for panic at this stage. They eventually gained a foothold, and full-back John Cleary had two long-range penalty attempts on goal, only to be off target on both occasions. For all their possession the Blues were proving wasteful, and the home side had clearly done their homework on the League leaders, with their back-row and particularly flanker Brian du Toit proving to be a handful.
Wegians eventually managed to get on the scoreboard in the 37th minute to get back into the game. When they finally got their maul going, it produced immediate dividends when number 8 Anthony Ryan touched down from a powerful forward drive. Although unconverted, a five-point deficit at the break would have been very retrievable, but just on the stroke of half-time the hosts were awarded a penalty for offside, which was slotted over by Jack McDermott for a morale-boosting 13-5 lead.
Wegians’ coaches Matt Brown and John Muldoon had strong words at half-time and immediately upon the restart the Blues seemed to up the tempo. However they again seemed to be playing into the student’s hands, as the hosts dealt comfortably with the threat. The momentum soon switched again, and with the student backline looking increasingly threatening, it took a last-ditch tackle from Galwegians full-back Cleary to keep the hosts at bay on 45 minutes. The first score of the half would always prove to be crucial, and it went the way of Trinity on the hour mark. It followed some good backline play which eventually outwitted the Blues defence, with out-half McDermott diving over for his side’s third try.
18-5 down and out of sorts, the Blues knew they were still in the game, and eventually they roused themselves to exert some pressure. However yet another promising position in their opponents 22 came to nothing. Needing to take risks, they then threw caution to the wind in their attempts to salvage something. Unfortunately this caught up with them, and a missed tackle late on allowed the students seal what could prove to be a crucial bonus point victory with lock Jack Burke crossing for the try, which was converted by McDermott.
With their heads now dropped, the Blues conceded a fifth try late on when winger Conor Kearns added his fifth try of the season from a quick turnover shortly afterwards. A final penalty from McDermott right on full-time rubbed salt into the wounds, causing the shock result of the day.
Wegians can have no complaints about this one. However Ballymena’s failure to beat Corinthians at Cloonacauneen means that the Blues head into the Christmas break still five points clear of the chasing pack. Matt Brown’s men have a chance to dust themselves down and re-assert their authority in Division 1b when they entertain Shannon in Crowley Park on Saturday January 3rd.
J Cleary; M Dever, J Harrimate, G O’Brien, C Conroy; D Clarke, B Lee; J Naughton (capt.), J Dinneen, D.McHugh; B.McClearn, M.Cummins; M Towey, J Pimm, A Ryan.
Replacements: R Shaughnessy, R Parata, P Hackett, C Gavin, P McCreanor.