- Result: Galwegians Firsts 22 - Enniscorthy 13
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Nov 18th 2023
- Competition: AIL Division 2C
Galwegians secure another important victory in their charge towards promotion with a 22-13 victory over third-placed Enniscorthy in round six of the AIL Division 2C championship.
After last weekend’s narrow win over Bangor, Galwegians were hoping to continue their unbeaten streak against the county Wexford side. With both sides suffering relegation from Division 2B last season, both sides were determined to secure a win to close the gap at the top of the division and return to the upper echelons of AIL.
Galwegians starting XV saw just one change with Mikey McGiff returning at centre after missing the previous game at Bangor. Conditions were set to be tricky with a stiff breeze before kick-off. Galwegians would play against the breeze in the second half losing the toss.
Galwegians had a lightning start to the game, taking advantage of the elements and some early indiscipline from the visitors to take the lead. Finn Tracey grabbed the opening score following some efficient work from the forwards to get him close. Tiarnan Neville collected the extras for seven points just four minutes in.
Thirty seconds after the game restarted, Galwegians struck again, with Tracey once again being the difference maker after a line break from halfway put Galwegians in acres of space. With Shane Mallon and Andrew Sherlock on the left-hand side for company, the duo linked up for the second of the afternoon, with Sherlock etching his name on the scoresheet. It was 14-0 after the conversion with seven minutes played.
Galwegians kept distancing themselves on the scoreboard with a Neville penalty putting three more points on the board. Despite some more opportunities in the first half, it remained 17-0 to the Blues and was a dream start to the game.
Galwegians were in firm control of the game and had their chances to grab a third, botching a five-metre tap and go to deny themselves another. Enniscorthy nearly pounced shortly afterwards with Nick Doyle nearly scoring a superb solo try but was denied by a great covering tackle by Neville.
Two players went to the bin before half-time with Neville and Liam Stamp receiving yellows for Galwegians and Enniscorthy respectively. Neither side could capitalise as the score remained at 17-0 at half-time.
The tables were turned in the second half with Galwegians playing against the wind, enabling a stronger kicking game for Enniscorthy. Two penalties for Enniscorthy in succession, put away by Ben Kidd made it 17-6 with plenty of rugby still to be played.
The game remained on a knife edge with both sides having the opportunity to score that conclusive try with Enniscorthy looking particularly dangerous. Knocking on the door of their 22, Galwegians were under pressure, but knock-ons from Enniscorthy proved to be decisive.
But with just seven minutes to go, Enniscorthy finally scored their opening try shortly after Rob Holian got carded. They patiently built through the phases, with Angelo Todisco picking and going, finding the small pocket of space to get over the line for the try. Adam Gethings grabbed the conversion, the score at 14-13 with the clock ticking down.
The pressure was well and truly on Galwegians to keep their lead alive. They won possession after the restart, and worked themselves towards the opposition 22 in quick fashion. Enniscorthy lost Nick Doyle after a yellow card, and Galwegians capitalised with substitute Conor Joyce grabbing the winner in the 75th minute to put themselves home and dry.
Tensions boiled over with a skirmish between the two sides, Enniscorthy frustrated that the game had slipped away. Neville couldn’t quite hit it right from the tee, meaning the visitors could nick a bonus point with the score at 22-13.
Enniscorthy did have their opportunity at the end but their attempt went just wide of the post as the referee blew his whistle to signify the end of the game. Galwegians streak rolls on with five wins and a draw in their opening two blocks of fixtures.
Galwegians assistant coach Shane O’Brien praised his players for their efforts throughout as Galwegians remain second in the division:
“The fight that was shown in the second half”, said Shane, “the way we attacked even against that breeze was fantastic. We really had to dig deep to hold out Enniscorthy and we did in the end and we denied them a bonus point which is huge because they are going to be there or thereabouts as well”.
“Maybe last year, we might have struggled to hold out that game but this year there has been a difference in mentality change. A couple of the players we’ve brought in this year are used to winning games so having their voices and experience helps”.
We have a week’s break of AIL action before Galwegians have their biggest game of the season so far, taking on Clogher Valley on Saturday 2nd December, with kick-off at 2.30 p.m.