- Result: Galwegians Firsts 16 - Malahide 17
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Feb 19th 2022
- Competition: AIL Division 2B
Galwegians came agonisingly close to bagging their second win of the AIL Division 2B campaign at home on Saturday, losing out by the narrowest of margins to the team one place above them in the table, Malahide.
Given the arctic stormy weather conditions last week, Crowley Park was in remarkably good shape and a tribute to the ground staff who ensured it was playable. And despite the predictably wet conditions throughout, both teams served up a decent contest, which was tight and tense and literally went down to the wire.
Malahide struggled in the earlier part of the League but have found some recent form, including a shock win away to Corinthians three weeks ago. And they got off to a perfect start when they scored off their very first attack. An early penalty was kicked into Wegians territory, and when clean lineout ball was spun out to centre Adam Kennedy, he dummied and ran through to score under the posts. Out-half Dave O’Halloran converted to put his team 7-0 up inside 2 minutes.
As in their previous game at Greystones, Wegians responded very well to an early concession and got right back into it. It was a first AIL start in 3 years for Morgan Codyre, and the out-half looked completely at home in the no. 10 jersey, directing traffic around him. 5 minutes later they opened their account when Codyre struck an excellent penalty into the wind, although it was so nearly a 5 or 7-pointer after a cross-kick was almost gathered by Conor O’Shaughnessy on the line.
The visitors had a man in the bin due to a high tackle, and the Blues took control and were asking all the questions of their opponents. They deservedly took the lead when they did manage to score a try on 15 minutes, when flanker Kacper Palamarczuk finished off an excellent passage of play from both backs and forwards. Codyre then stepped up to nail a stunning touchline conversion and put his side 10-7 in front.
As the game headed into the second quarter, the Blues were giving as good as they got and looking the more likely to score. However it was the visitors who struck next with a decisive and telling blow. The Blues were on the attack but were penalised which allowed ‘Hide clear their lines. And when fullback Rory Gaffney slapped the ball into touch under pressure near his 22, the resulting penalty to the corner provided the attacking platform, with winger Dan Hayes eventually crossing near the posts. O’Halloran’s conversion restored his side’s 4-point lead. Wegians did manage to claw it back when some good pressure was rewarded with another Codyre penalty to leave it 14-13 at the break.
The Blues looked well placed at the start of the second-half with a slight wind advantage. On 50 minutes they had a great opportunity with a penalty to the corner, but the hosts dug deep to frustrate them. When the Blues took a kick at goal, Codyre’s radar drifted off for the first and only time all game, leaving them a point in arrears. Just after the hour mark Malahide, in a rare attacking opportunity, took advantage when O’Halloran landed another penalty from in front to restore the 4-point gap. However Codyre soon cancelled it out with an effort of his own from near the posts.
Try as they might, Wegians were unable to make their territorial dominance count. The set-piece began to struggle and they came up against a near flawless defensive effort where the north Dubliners managed to maintain some extraordinary ball retention in the wet and slippery conditions. Wegians did have one last chance when a stoppage time penalty gave them an attacking lineout near the 22. But a wayward throw meant the chance was gone, and the final whistle ended their hopes of what would have been a deserved victory. However much like the story of their season, it was not to be, and they remain rooted to the foot of the table with 5 game rounds remaining. Next up they travel north this Saturday to take on promotion-chasing Belfast Harlequins and a chance to gain revenge for another narrow home defeat last November.