- Result: Galwegians Firsts 19 - Corinthians 34
- Venue: Corinthian Park on Fri Sep 15th 2023
- Competition: Connacht Senior League
Galwegians Connacht Senior League campaign concluded with a loss away to Corinthians on Friday evening. Despite an encouraging opening to the game and looking good to take their first win of the season, a defiant second-half performance from the hosts put Galwegian’s hopes to rest.
Before kick-off, there was a moment’s silence for the late Mick Berry who had formerly served as the president of Corinthians back in 2011, both sides paying their respects to the great man.
There was fine weather in Cloonacauneen on the autumn evening and ideal playing conditions for this match-up between these two close neighbours. However, it wasn’t the ideal start for Galwegians, with a yellow card to Mick McColgan just three minutes in for a high challenge.
The hosts used their numerical advantage early on by taking the lead in the first nine minutes. Winning the line-out inside our 22, Corinthians piled on the pressure with their maul and Max Holmes drove over the line to score their first try of the evening making it 5-0, failing to score the conversion.
An excellent response from the visitors ensured their lead didn’t last long with Galwegians pulling off a strong set-piece of their own and the line-out five meters away from the try-line gave all the incentive the Blues needed for Nicky Lawless to level the game at the 15-minute mark.
The first half continued to change to swing in the balance between the two sides, swapping the lead on numerous occasions. It was an immediate response from Corinthians following Galwegians’ opening try and despite an apparent knock-on in the build-up, Peter Rainsford took his chance and scored in the corner to make it 10-5.
Galwegians fought back and after another terrific line-out sequence, new signings Hugo Gens and Liam Angermann demonstrated their chemistry with strong link-up play with Angermann bursting through the Corinthians defence for the try. With the game now levelled once more, it was Tiernan Neville who scored the conversion that brought Galwegians into the lead at 12-10.
On the stroke of half time with seconds left on the clock, Corinthians scored their third try of the evening to make it 15-12 with Rory McCleane putting his name on the scoreboard. Once again exposing the lack of width Galwegians had on their left-hand side, McCleane scored in the corner with options aplenty.
A resounding start to the second half saw Galwegians once again snatch back the lead of the game three minutes in with the captain Jack Winters scoring following a turnover at the line-out securing the Blues a penalty, and with a quick tap and go, Winters hauled himself over for the try. Neville continued to add more points, kicking between the posts to make it 19-15.
With three tries apiece, it looked set to be a close encounter for the remainder of the game. But the hosts only grew from strength to strength and after a stalemate for fifteen minutes, Galwegians finally cracked under intense pressure with Rainsford grabbing his second of the evening following a series of penalties conceded inside our 22. Corinthians had a one-point advantage at 20-19.
Ringing the changes from the bench, Corinthians gave themselves some breathing room in the 67th minute. A clever short weighted pass played to Rory McCleane saw him slip through the cracks and find himself through in the 22 to be the second player to grab a brace in the second half. Jack Conway landed their first conversion of the game giving them a 27-19 advantage.
There was only one team really in the game throughout the final quarter of the game and a sixth try was only inevitable. Gareth Kilkenny barged himself over the line with just a few minutes left on the clock securing the victory for Corinthians and putting the game to bed at 34-19.
A frustrating second half for the Blues after some inspired performances in the opening forty minutes to see them end their Connacht Senior League with a loss. But all attention will be focused on the AIL Division 2C series next October with their game against away at Tullamore on Friday 6th October at 20:00 in Spollanstown.