- Result: Galwegians Firsts 7 - Old Wesley 7
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Mar 4th 2017
- Competition: AIL Division 1B
A last-minute converted try denied Galwegians a second consecutive win in AIL Divbision 1b, meaning the Blues had to settle for a hard-earned draw instead against a promotion-chasing Wesley side.
Second-from-bottom Wegians, who won up at Ballynahinch a fortnight ago, had to absorb a lot of early pressure from the visitors who were looking to build on an emphatic 30-point victory at home to Ballymena last time out. Despite that Wegians did create the first real opportunity, only for a well-timed tackle to disrupt an overlap.
The visitors’ out-half Tim Clifford pushed a penalty effort well wide in the 13th minute and as the first half wore on, there was no change to the scoreboard. Clifford had a second penalty miss and a handling error spoiled Wesley's most promising attack when they knocked on inches from the line.
The home side came more into the game approaching half-time, with Connacht squad members Ciaran Gaffney and Rory Parata both posing a threat out wide. Teenage out-half Morgan Codyre was off target with a long-range penalty attempt just before half-time as it stayed scoreless at the break.
It took a piece of individual brilliance from full-back Aidan Moynihan to open the scoring three minutes into the second period. He stepped in behind the Wesley defence on the 22 and raced away to the corner, with Codyre adding an excellent conversion to boot.
Wesley, who had come under prolonged pressure during scrum half Adam Kennedy's sin-binning, survived a 'Wegians purple patch as the hosts took control of the game having been under the cosh in the opening half. However the Blues were unable to add any further points to their tally, and their D4 opponents gradually clawed back some territory. Their young centre David Poff had a try ruled out for a forward pass and then winger Paul Harte was bundled into touch by the corner flag.
Crucially, Galwegians were now falling foul of referee Chris Harrington's whistle. A number of penalties led to yellow cards, first for influential back-row Josh Pim and then for prop Jason East in the closing stages. Just when it looked like 'Wegians had the result within their grasp, a pinpoint penalty to touch from Rory Stynes set up a Wesley lineout five metres out. Wegians gave away two more penalties close to the posts and with Wesley opting for a scrum on both occasions, the gamble paid off when replacement scrum-half Adam Griggs sniped over to score a try, which Kennedy converted to level the game.
It was harsh on Wegians who came so close to sealing a second consecutive victory, but probably a fair result in the end in what was a real tussle between two well-matched sides. Next up for the Blues is another crucial game, away to UL Bohs in Limerick this Saturday.