Towards a century at the heart of Connacht rugby

Men’s Firsts 30 – Bruff 32


Match Result

  • Result: Galwegians Firsts 30 - Bruff 32
  • Venue: Bruff RFC on Sat Mar 2nd 2024
  • Competition: AIL Division 2C

Match Report

Galwegians suffered a severe case of déjà vu against Bruff RFC after losing 32-30 in the dying moments, after being 25-0 up before half-time. A massive blow that almost certainly ends their automatic promotion push.

Bruff came back from 26 points behind in the reverse fixture back in November to seal a late draw. This time they went one step better with the win that puts them just one point behind the Blues.

With drama right to end, they looked to have blown it with a penalty miss from Paul Collins in the 79th minute before he redeemed himself with a late winner that struck the post before going in.

Galwegians went to Bruff with just one change to the squad from their game in Enniscorthy back in February. Eoin Tarmey came in to the second row as Oisin Halpin replaced Dylan Keane at flanker.

Galwegians started brightly and after no scores in the first quarter, they finally got going with the opening try from Eoin Tarmey. Tiarnan Neville hit an extraordinary 50-22 from his own 22, taking advantage of the strong wind blowing in their favour to secure possession deep into Bruff’s 22.

Bruff started to concede a series of penalties and from five metres out, Garyn Daniel launched a trademark tap and go, which Tarmey latched onto to score the opening try of the afternoon. Neville dispatched the conversion to put Wegians seven points ahead.

Bruff discipline cost them again, conceding another penalty in front of the posts, which Neville scored to add another three points to Galwegians’ tally.

Sixty seconds after the restart, Galwegians struck again. This time, it was Cian Brady who intercepted the ball after Bruff’s attempt to play out wide. Completely unopposed, he dotted down between the posts to put Galwegians 17 points in front after Neville’s conversion.

Neville continued his heroics off the tee with another three-pointer, after Bruff conceded a scrum penalty from forty metres out. His kick was straight and went the distance which gave Galwegians a healthy 20 point lead.

Bruff started to threaten their advantage off the restart and found themselves a few metres short after some intricate plays but Galwegians repelled their efforts and worked themselves up field once again.

Just before half-time, Galwegians sought their third try of the afternoon and Oisin McKey provided the goods with a try in the corner. With a free play in their disposal, they played the ball out wide and Kennedy offloaded it to McKey to increase their lead to 25. Neville’s conversion just spiralled wide but the Blues looked comfortable.

Bruff didn’t have many visits to the opposition 22 but capitalised on the restart to score their first try as captain Cillian Rea touched down. Gaining possession off Paul Collins' restart kick, they quickly stormed towards the tryline with some strong carries from the forwards and backs. Rea spotted the small hole in the Wegians’ defence to get over the line. Collins converted to minimise the gap in the scoreline to 25-7.

Bruff opened their account in the second half with a penalty as Collins struck home his second kick of the game to push the gap to 15 points.

But it took just ten seconds for the visitors to strike back as Jesse Va’asfusuaga got the bonus point try for the Blues. Oisin Halpin gathered the ball off the restart and broke away inside Bruff’s 22. Finding Darragh Kennedy on the right wing, Kennedy relayed it back to Jesse who held off the Bruff defenders to give Galwegians breathing room once again.

With the score at 30-10 with twenty to go, it looked improbable for hosts who would have to replicate their extraordinary comeback from last November to steal the win away from Galwegians, who had been the stronger team for the majority of the game.

Galwegians’ Shane Mallon headed to the bin which gave Bruff all the impetus they needed to get over the line. Gaining another penalty advantage, they shifted left and found Andrew O Byrne isolated in the corner to cross the whitewash and close the game down to 30-17 after Collins' conversion.

Galwegians made another visit to the Galwegians 22, but in a matter of seconds, when trying to play out wide, a handling error from a misplaced pass enabled Ethan Anderson to boot the ball up field and chased Galwegians all the way back to their own 22.

Winning a penalty from five metres out, Bruff caught the Blues by surprise by playing a quick tap and go where Mark Fitzpatrick was found all alone on the left wing, and he touched down with ease to make a six point game with over ten minutes to go.

Fitzpatrick would grab a second just minutes later as Bruff were now in the driving seat in this game. Once again, Galwegians were completely exposed on the left hand side with very little numbers out wide. A perfectly placed cross field kick from Collins found his target and Fitzpatrick scored the try in the corner to bring the game to 29-30.

Collins had scored his last two conversions from the left at similar angles. But his next attempt went well wide of the post and Bruff would need another score to win the game.

As the clock began to tick down, Bruff’s first opportunity would come in the final few minutes of the game. A high tackle from Galwegians had won the hosts a crucial penalty. Collins stepped up to take the penalty, which was from forty metres out and at an unfavourable angle. Unfortunately for Bruff, it would sail to the left and wide of the post.

But Bruff would receive another chance to steal the win as Cian Brady was binned for another penalty offence. Again from a similar angle, Collins would have his opportunity to redeem his previous attempt on goal. He struck it well, but continued to drift to the left. It struck the post but still went over to the roars of the Bruff faithful.

The hosts held on for the remaining seconds and celebrated another classic comeback over the Blues, a pivotal moment in the championship for both sides. Bruff are now two points off second, which could pay dividends later on for their play-off hopes.

Meanwhile, Galwegians suffer their third consecutive defeat meaning they drop to third, and are now 14 points adrift of Clogher Valley at the summit of the Division 2C. Galwegians’ focus will be on finishing as high as possible in the table, starting with a game at home against Bangor this Saturday at 2.30 pm.


1. Jack Winters, 2. Ryan Smith, 3. Garyn Daniel, 4. Rob Holian, 5. Eoin Tarmey, 6. Oisin Halpin, 7. Jesse Vaafusuaga, 8. Liam Angermann, 9. Andrew Sherlock, 10. Tiernan Neville, 11. Oisin McKee, 12. Cian Brady, 13. Rob Deacy, 14. Darragh Kennedy, 15. Shane Mallon. Subs: 16. Dylan Keane, 17. Mick McColgan, 18. Hugo Gens, 19. Josh Munn, 20. James Deacy

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