- Result: Galwegians Firsts 14 - Belfast Harlequins 16
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Nov 6th 2021
- Competition: AIL Division 2B
A scoreless first half period was contrasted with a helter skelter second, as a late Galwegians surge saw the hosts claim a losing bonus point against second-placed Belfast Harlequins. A Paul Kerr masterclass after the break proved enough for Harlequins to seal four points, with the unforced errors early on consigned to history.
Those early stages were more of a glorified set-piece session, as the backs were as useful as supporters for large stages through no fault of their own. Scrum after scrum, lineout after lineout, the handling and execution certainly had room to improve. Excitement levels were below par at best.
And then the second half commenced. Straight from the restart, it was a blaringly obvious case of a game of two halves. Conor O’Shaughnessy wheeled away from the Harlequins defence, and he put away Andrew Paton on his inside shoulder. Kelvin Langan ran the perfect support line, and his work off the ball was rewarded with a try.
Four minutes later, Harlequins were on the attack. Rob Deacy was left with a conundrum, and cynical play at ruck time saw him end up in the bin. Kerr immediately set about punishing 14-man ‘Wegians, as his 20m penalty was the beginning of a one-man mission.
The score was soon 7-10, as Kerr’s evasive run in the 61st minute put a try on a plate for Malcolm Corry. Kerr slotted the conversion just as Deacy was preparing to return to the fray, as the scoreboard was well and truly dented in his 10-minute absence.
From there Harlequins’ game management was admirable. Wegians had half chances, but it was the visitors who struck. Ball retention and sensible decision making yielded two penalties deep in the hosts’ territory, and Kerr struck twice to extend the advantage to a two-score game.
Pressure then mounted, and after a few opportunities went abegging, Ben McGuinness tapped and went to get in for a score between the sticks, but despite more possession for Blues, they couldn’t get close enough to the Harlequins line as they went in search of a winner in the minute that remained.
But it didn’t come in the end, and the referee’s whistle did. Ja Naughton’s men were forced to take solace in their losing bonus point, as they now face into a weekend off.