- Result: Galwegians Firsts 12 - Ballina 33
- Venue: Ballina RFC on Sat Sep 11th 2021
- Competition: Connacht Senior League
On All-Ireland final day, the trek to Ballina was dotted and decorated with the green and red of Mayo, rather than that of Ballina. The Connacht Senior League was in the shadows of Sam Maguire, but on a mild enough morning there was just enough light for the darkness to subside. Just enough light for two teams to attempt to shine.
If the hype wasn’t there, the hunger was. An early score for Ballina hooker Billy McVann was to be cancelled out courtesy of a Sam Feely offload, a Conor O’Shaughnessy step and a Conor O’Shaughnessy score.
With the home side holding the upper hand at set-piece, a call to go to the corner paid dividends. Kicker Darragh Whyte added a try to his previous conversion, before Ronan Molloy made hay of some uncharacteristically loose tackling to run in from ‘Wegians 10m line. Ian West then added his name to the scoresheet right on half-time to leave it 26-7.
The scoreline was harsh on Ja Naughton’s men, who were much improved on last week’s defeat to Corinthians. The second half was a war of attrition, with a yellow card for scrum-half and Faf de Klerk impersonator Cian Quinn the half’s first highlight on 60 minutes.
Wegians pressure failed to yield any scores, with set-piece costing the away side on a handful of occasions. Number 8 Patrick Howley then peeled off a 5m scrum to extend the deficit, but Conor O’Shaugnessy personified Galwegians persistence with an easy finish in the corner on 77 minutes.
The sides will meet again in the first round of the AIL Division 2B.