- Result: Galwegians Firsts 12 - Corinthians 7
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Aug 20th 2022
- Competition: Connacht Senior League
Galwegians made it two wins from two when they backed up their opening win away to Buccaneers last weekend by seeing off city rivals Corinthians at Crowley Park on Saturday. While the final margin was close, it masked what was a thoroughly deserved and convincing win by the Blues who were by far the superior team on the day.
In contrast to the previous weekend when Wegians faced Buccs in sweltering 30 degree heat, conditions were much more autumnal on this occasion, with persistent rain for much of the game which made life difficult for both sides. The Blues were attacking the Dublin road end in the first-half, and with the aid of a wind advantage, they enjoyed dominance for the majority of the opening 40 minutes. Yet for all their possession, territory and forward dominance, they rarely threatened the visitor’s line, bar one 5 metre attacking lineout which came to nought.
Corinthians defended quite comfortably throughout in what was their first competitive outing this season, having forfeited their game at Sligo the previous week. The Blues did have a chance to take the lead on the half-hour when full-back Darragh Kennedy tried his luck from 30 metres out with a penalty, but his effort sailed just wide. Just before half-time Kennedy was sin-binned which gave the visitors a chance to land a sucker-punch, but their attacking line-out inside Wegians’ 22 was thwarted, and the home side cleared their lines to leave it scoreless at the break.
At this stage the Cloonacauneen men must have fancied their chances, with the elements now behind them for the second half and the temporary extra man advantage. However despite gaining a grip in the set-piece where they had struggled early doors, they offered little and were unable to make any inroads.
The decisive moment came in the 48th minute and again it was the influential Kennedy who took centre stage. Shortly after his return from the bin, he fielded a speculative kick ahead and ran it back from deep, linking up well with Karl Waterman who came in off his right wing to setup the scoring opportunity for left-winger MJ Duffy. The Mayo youngster made no mistake and dived over near the left corner for the opening try, his first of what will no doubt be many at senior level. It was no more than they deserved, but Kennedy’s conversion was near impossible into the cross-wind, leaving it 5-0 to the hosts.
Corinthians were unable to muster any response as the score seemed to deflate them while it put a pep in the step of Wegians. With both coaches now ringing the changes, the Blues regained their ascendancy in the set-piece, and they continued to dominate affairs. All the play was in the visitor’s half, and just after the hour mark they struck a second time. With the penalty count beginning to mount in their favour, the Blues kicked to the corner, and a patient lineout maul was followed by a series of pick and go’s, with substitute lock Niall Murphy pouncing and stretching his arm to ground the ball over the line. Kennedy made no mistake with this conversion, and the Blues were very good value for a 12-0 lead.
In the final quarter it was the hosts who looked the likelier to score as they maintained all the territory and most of the possession. Corinthians were forced to take risks and when they ran a penalty on a rare visit to the Wegians 22 late on, Blues substitute winger Matt Dever intercepted and hacked clear to push the visitors back fully 60 metres. With that went any hope the visitors had of causing a late upset.
There was however to be a late consolation score, when Wegians replacement scrum-half Eamon Dowling was needlessly sin-binned with his side on the attack. And Corinthians scrum-half Peter Rainsford took advantage to chip over the cover and seize on a rare Wegians defensive error to touch down under the posts. His drop-goal conversion proved the last act of the game.
But there was no denying this young Wegians team, who are making an early statement of intent that they want to build on last season and be challenging for honours this time around. Their next outing will be a top of the table clash away to another unbeaten side Sligo on Saturday September 3rd, a game which will surely decide the destination of this year’s Senior League title.