- Result: Galwegians Firsts 7 - Navan 28
- Venue: Navan RFC on Sat Dec 8th 2018
- Competition: AIL Division 2A
For the second week in succession, Galwegians lost on the road against one of the leading sides in the Division. There were many similarities to their defeat in Highfield last week. They went behind to two early tries and despite facing an uphill battle, they gave their hosts a really good game of it for long periods yet came away with nothing to show for their efforts.
Playing in wild blustery conditions, Wegians had the better of the elements in the first-half, but the hosts put down an early marker. When awarded a penalty near halfway, they setup an attacking lineout and after some patient phases, forward Harry Hester crossed for the opening fifth minute try. This was converted by Brian Haugh to settle his side into an early 7-0 lead.
It got better for the hosts when they doubled their advantage minutes later. Once again it came from a penalty near halfway, and having secured their lineout again, they forced a further scrum 5 penalty, which resulted in Shane Faulkner crossing near the left corner. Haugh once again judged his kick to perfection, curling it into the wind and in off the post for a 14-0 lead before the end of the first quarter.
Wegians settled down and began to gain some territory, but conditions were not conducive to ball retention, leading to costly turnovers. However they ended the half on the front foot and laid siege to the Navan line. The hosts stubbornly resisted, but on the stroke of half-time the pressure finally told, with Rory Gaffney bursting over. Evan Strang converted to half the deficit to 14-7 at the break.
While this gave the Blues real hope, the conditions were now very firmly in favour of the Meathmen in the second half. Unfortunately for the Blues, it was case of déjà vu with the hosts setting up an early attacking platform and a scrum 5. Then with a strong shunt forward, the referee showed no hesitation in awarding a penalty try, much to the annoyance of the Wegians players who might have felt they were in a similar position just before the break. However this restored the hosts’ 14-point advantage.
The Blues got back into it and shortly afterwards they came close to scoring a second try when they got over the line, only to be held up. And from the resulting scrum 5, a knock-on was forced which relieved the pressure for the hosts. With rain now making ball handling even more difficult, the Blues huffed and puffed but were unable to outdo a resolute Navan defence.
Their cause wasn’t helped when substitute and promising young winger Hugh Lane was stretchered off with what unfortunately turned out to be a fractured fibula. Then when trying to force the game late on, an interception by Navan’s Sean McEntagart inside his own half brought play up to the Wegians line, and Conor Hand finished it off to secure a bonus point for the hosts.
It was another cruel lesson for Wegians, and this is how it ended, sending the Blues home empty-handed. They now lie marooned at the bottom of Division 2A winless after 8 games, however there is a definite chink of light for coach Brian McClearn to work on here after these last two performances away to top sides in the League.
Next up for the Blues is an absolute must-win game at home to Nenagh Ormond this Saturday 15th at Crowley Park.