- Result: Galwegians Firsts 21 - Clonmel 10
- Venue: Clonmel RFC on Sat Oct 21st 2023
- Competition: AIL Division 2C
Galwegians continue their strong run of form with a 21-10 win over Clonmel, making it three wins out of three as they remain steady in second place in Division 2C.
It was the first time the two sides faced off against each other in an AIL game and both sides were determined to hold the honour of becoming the first victor of this fixture.
Galwegians were looking to replicate their success from their games against Tullamore and Midleton, while Clonmel was looking to pull off a decent result after their victory over Bangor in the previous round.
Two changes were made to the Galwegians' starting XV that secured the bonus point win over Midelton in the last round, as Rob Holian returned to action in the second row while Bobby Power made his first start of the AIL campaign.
Galwegians had the first opportunity after Clonmel conceded a series of penalties inside their 22, but the chance was squandered as the ball just spilt at the line by Dylan Keane. Instead, it was the hosts that struck first with an early penalty, carefully dispatched by Josef O’Connor. It was the first time this season Galwegians found themselves in a losing position.
Galwegians’ point deficit didn’t last long as Josh Munn got over for the Blues’ first try of the afternoon. Utilizing their numbers on the left-hand side, Finn Tracey played a long pass to Munn who burst through on the wing, covering significant ground to find themselves a few metres short.
Securing a penalty for offside and with an advantage in their arsenal, Wegians transitioned out wide once more and Andrew Sherlock found Munn alone in the corner to take the lead. Tiarnan Neville scored the conversion to create a four-point buffer between the two sides.
Momentum edged back and forth between the two sides in the first half but neither had the conviction to grab another score in the remaining minutes of the half. So as the teams took a breather, the halftime score was 7-3 to Galwegians.
The Galwegians' back-line was robust and could have added to their tally with Josh Munn and Barry Walsh out wide, but a few botched passes to the wingers meant the game remained on a knife edge.
Clonmel seemed destined to re-take the lead in the second half with Bobby Power heading to the bin for preventing a clear line break inside their 22. Despite the numerical advantage, Galwegians’ defence remained firm as they just survived the onslaught and secured a huge turnover to keep themselves ahead.
That moment proved to be key as Galwegians worked themselves up the pitch on the back of that turnover. Clonmel losing a line-out from halfway enabled Galwegians to gain territory. Passaging towards the left-hand side once more, Finn Tracey held off several Clonmel players to carry himself over the line to score their second. Neville kicked home another conversion to make it 14-3 to the Blues.
As the bomb squads emptied the benches and the game reached its final act, Clonmel applied the pressure on the Blues. Finally, they took advantage of their possession to grab a try with Jason Monua getting over the line following a five-metre lineout. O’Connor slotted his conversion between the posts to make it a four-point game.
The closing salvo of the game saw both sides give it their maximum in a tense finale. But Galwegians were the ones to break through as Garyn Daniel scored his second try of the season following his debut try against Midleton. Neville had another perfect conversion rate, giving Galwegians a 21-10 lead.
The game looked to be safe for Galwegians but both sides were scrambling for the bonus point. Playing to the final whistle, Galwegians fought hard and came close to getting over the line but just fell short. While they might have been agitated that an extra point may have fallen out of their grasp, another spirited performance from the team firmly stamped their ambitions for promotion.
Clogher Valley’s victory over Midelton means the newcomers are still top of the division by a single point, securing their third bonus point win in succession. AIL action will cease for a week before resuming on November 4 as Galwegians take on third-placed Bruff RFC in an almighty battle at the summit of the division.