Towards a century at the heart of Connacht rugby

Firsts 9 – Garryowen 18


Match Result

  • Result: Galwegians Firsts 9 - Garryowen 18
  • Venue: Dooradoyle on Sat Oct 17th 2015
  • Competition: AIL Division 1A

Match Report

Galwegians suffered another disappointing result on the road when they were beaten by a better and more determined Garryowen side at Dooradoyle on Saturday.

This was a very lacklustre performance from Wegians, especially on the back of their recent outstanding home win against League champions Lansdowne. However there was a lack of focus and lethargy evident last Saturday, with far too many errors made which were gratefully punished by their hosts.

Playing in their new away strip of black, the signs were ominous early on for Wegians when they conceded three straight penalties in the opening ten minutes in their own half. Home scrum-half Neil Cronin converted two of his three attempts to give his side an early 6-0 lead. Wegians eventually got into the game and secured some territory, with a hugely dominant scrum where returning Connacht squad member Ronan Loughney was having a major impact at loose-head. Following a second successive scrum penalty awarded, out-half Aidan Moynihan opened his side’s account with a penalty on 16 minutes.

However Wegians failed to secure the restart, which proved fatal as the home side went on the offensive. And following two penalty kicks to the corner, they soon rumbled over for the opening try, with lock Shane Buckley getting the touchdown. Cronin’s conversion hit the upright leaving the score 11-3. Wegians had the better of the second quarter with the scrum continuing to cause serious damage. However they were failing to string the phases together and not causing too much concern for the home side.

With their only serious attack, they thought they scored a try on the half-hour mark when full-back Ciaran Gaffney crossed in the corner, only for referee David Wilkinson to call a forward pass by debutant winger Niyi Adelokun. Moynihan did however reduce the margin to five points with a penalty soon after, only to have to immediately retire with a dead leg. This was on top of the earlier loss of Paddy Finn at flanker.

This is how it remained at half-time, and despite strong words from coach Matt Brown at the break, there was little change in tempo in the second half. The error count continued to pile up, and the hosts always looked the more likely to score next. Some excellent defensive work by winger Ed O’Keeffe stopped a try when home full-back Alex Wootton looked certain to score from a breakaway move. However the pressure finally told on the hour mark when the game’s outstanding player, Garryowen no. 8 and captain Josh Hrstich tapped a quick penalty five yards out and caught the visiting defence napping to score his side’s second try. Cronin’s conversion stretched their lead to 12 points.

Brown had by now emptied his bench to try freshen up his attack, but it was having limited impact. However the visitors were given hope when awarded a penalty on 71 minutes, which Gaffney converted to reduce the gap to 18-9. Instead of kicking on, there was little sign of any attacking threat from a disjointed-looking Wegians. At least not until stoppage time when a kick and chase by O’Keeffe nearly led to a consolation try, only for an unlucky bounce to evade the flying winger. Their day was summed up in the last act of play when Gaffney had a chance to secure a losing bonus point having been awarded a penalty off a defensive line-out. Although not a gimme, he never caught in properly and scuffed his effort wide to send the visitors home empty-handed.

Coaches Matt Brown and John Muldoon will be expecting a serious improvement from their charges in their next outing when they host fourth-placed UCD on Saturday October 31st at Crowley Park.


Ciaran Gaffney; Ed O’Keeffe, Cormac Brennan, Brian Murphy (capt.), Niyi Adelokun; Aidan Moynihan (sub: Adam Leavy), Barry Lee (sub: Caolin Blade); Ronan Loughney (sub: Ja Naughton) Juan Anaya (sub: Jack Dinneen), Jason East, Anthony Ryan, Marty Cummins; Paddy Finn (sub: Matt Towey), Josh Pim, Marc Kelly.

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