Towards a century at the heart of Connacht rugby

Men’s Firsts 38 – Bangor 14


Match Result

  • Result: Galwegians Firsts 38 - Bangor 14
  • Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Mar 9th 2024
  • Competition: AIL Division 2C

Match Report

Galwegians return to second place in AIL Division 2C after a resounding 38-14 victory over Bangor RFC in their fight for the playoff spots.

After three defeats in a row, all of which were against promotion rivals, Galwegians finally returned to their winning form and are in the hot seat for the playoffs with three games to go.

Two changes were made to the Galwegians XV that played Bruff last time around saw Dylan Keane return at blindside with Oisin Halpin reverting to the second row. It was the first time this season that Galwegian’s front row was altered as captain Jack Winters made way for Mick McColgan, who made his first AIL start.

Garyn Daniel was given the captain’s armband in Winter’s absence, an incredible achievement for the Welshman who joined the Blues this season.

Galwegians started with a flourish, as Ryan Smith opened the scoring from a lineout maul. Tiarnan Neville set up the Blues with some expert precision kicking from a 50-22. From there, the Galwegians' maul was superior and Smith got the finish to open their account. Neville's kicking remained on point with the conversion to make it 7-0.

Galwegians dominated the opening ten minutes and soon enough were in again. This time Shane Mallon scored in the corner. Great play through the hands from the Galwegians' backs saw Mallon in position and danced past three players to score in the corner.

Bangor, who were desperate for a result with their AIL status in jeopardy, started to apply the pressure. With the wind blowing on their backs, they came close on a few occasions but were held up on the line by a resilient defensive effort.

Bangor finally capitalised and scored with substitute Paddy Dobie. Working through the phases, Dobie broke away from the tackles of the forwards and touched down to give Bangor something heading into the break. Gareth Millar converted to make it 12-7.

But Galwegians would grab one more try just before the break to go into the second half with a gap. Cian Brady scored the fifth try of his AIL campaign, dashing past the Bangor backs and crossing between the posts to lead by 12 after Neville’s second conversion.

Bangor came close to victory back in November and threw down the gauntlet in the opening few minutes of the second half. They were rewarded with their second of the game, this time it was Mike Weir under the posts. Galwegians switched off and Weir slipped past to narrow the score.

Galwegians were now finding their groove after the setback and just five minutes later, Smith got his second of the afternoon to extend their advantage. Using some tricks from his teammates at centre, he skipped past the Bangor defence to score a great individual try.

Cian Brady got a brace of his own in the 56th minute scoring under the sticks. Neville’s offload gave Brady the break he needed and touched down to settle the game for the Blues.

With the nightmare at Bruff still fresh in the memory, Galwegians couldn’t let their guard up and would hold on to secure the win. Rob Deacy got on the act late on in the game. Substitute Josh Munn‘s expert chip left it on a plate for Deacy who finished in the corner to wrap up the win for Galwegians.

Galwegians rest this week before they head into the final leg of the season with their first game against Clonmel RFC on March 23.

A return to form that keeps the fate of the playoffs in Galwegian’s control. Ahead of their final block of fixtures across the next three weeks, Galwegians head coach Brendan Guilfoyle has his eyes set towards second place in the league to secure a home playoff semi-final.

“The important thing today was getting the win”, said Brendan. “After three losses on the bounce, it wasn’t great over the last couple of weeks especially after we thought we played quite well.”

“At times, we were really good but also thought we had switched off defensively and we gave them a bit more respect than they deserved. It’s a good result and we’re back in second and the home semi-final in the play-offs is back in our own hands.”

“Some of these young players have grown into their positions on the senior team now. When you look at some of these guys who myself and Shane as coaches coming from outside the club twelve months ago, they are now starting week in and week out”.


D Kennedy, S Mallon, R Deacy, C Brady, O McKey, T Neville, A Sherlock, M McColgan, R Smith, G Daniel (C), E Tarmey, O Halpin, D Keane, J Va’afusuaga, L Angermann. Replacements: E Ferry, J Quinn, H Gens, J Munn, R Roche.

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