- Result: Galwegians Firsts 41 - Midleton 22
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Oct 14th 2023
- Competition: AIL Division 2C
Galwegians secure their first home victory of their AIL Division 2C campaign following a clinical performance over Midleton, beating the Cork side 41-22.
After defeating Tullamore in their opening game of the season, the Blues were determined to make their first home visit a memorable one. Playing against a Midleton side that narrowly got over the line against Bangor last weekend, they were looking to preserve themselves in the AIL after nearly getting relegated last season.
Crowley Park hosted Saturday’s match-up in tricky, wet conditions as the rain hammered down in the opening half of the game, with the hosts kicking off from left to right to begin proceedings.
Line-outs appeared to be Galwegians’ strong suit and were the key to their success in the first half. Ryan Smith delivered the ball to the maul and recollected it as they surged towards the try-line with Smith touching down for their first of the afternoon. Tiernan Neville scored the conversion to put seven points on the board in just ten minutes of play.
Galwegians continued the scoring just six minutes later. Fin Tracey intercepted a Midleton attack, kicking it downfield and the scramble that ensued resulted in another line-out seven metres away. Midleton repelled the maul this time around but left themselves exposed on the wing, enabling Galwegians to play out wide and Shane Mallon scored for the second game in a row. A missed conversion meant that the score remained 12-0.
Mallon didn’t have to wait long to score his second with another line-out from halfway forcing Galwegians to play out wide. A clever offload left a three-on-one overlap and a straightforward pass to Mallon left him in acres of space to score Galwegians’ third. Neville’s kick gave the hosts a healthy 19-point lead.
The search for the bonus point try was all but complete by the half-hour mark with Mikey McGriff adding to Galwegians’ first-half tally. More line-out magic from the Blues saw McGriff headed towards the corner to add another point to the league table. Conversion went wide making It 24-0.
Galwegians continued their first-half rout with a fifth unanswered try with a series of great carries marching them towards the 22 once again. With an advantage and a free play at their disposal, Neville found Barry Walsh making a run towards the corner and his crossfield kick was safely collected by Walsh to score the try. Neville’s conversions from the right-hand side remained accurate and scored two extra points to leave them 31 points ahead.
A difficult opening 40 minutes for the visitors left them confounded but had some solace with a try of their own on the stroke of half-time. Playing the ball out wide, a moment of brilliance from Fionn McGibney saw him chip the ball over the defence and found Rian Hogan in the corner to prevent a whitewash in the first half. The teams headed inside with Galwegians still firmly in front with the score at 31-5.
The showers had dissipated and blue skies emerged as the second half got underway with Midleton flourishing from the outset. Some sustained possession in the opposing half, saw them explore the width of the pitch and the Midelton backs transitioned towards the right-hand side with Hogan finding the space in the corner to put Midleton back on track with his second of the game.
At the hour mark, Midelton would grab another to complicate matters for the hosts. Winning a scrum inside the 22, they remained patient throughout the phases and found themselves five metres away in front of the posts. Stephen Monaghan charged his way through the forwards to bring the visitors closer. Full-back Jack Colbert got his first conversion of the afternoon to make it 31-17.
Galwegians would put the game to bed at the 66th minute as new signing Garyn Daniel scored his first-ever AIL try in Galwegian colours. The tried and tested method of the line-out routine proved effective once more and the maul powered onwards with Daniel etching his name on the scoreboard. 36-17 to put Galwegians clear.
Midleton would have the consolation of a bonus point try with two minutes to go on the clock. Galwegians had the opportunity to score just moments earlier with the ball spilled just metres away from the try-line. Progressing their way towards the field, it was substitute Evan Donovan who put them through for the fourth try for the Cork side.
But it was Galwegians who ended the game on a high note and excellent footwork from Shane Mallon saw him burst through the Midleton defence to secure a wonderful hat-trick. It capped off a fantastic return as the final score was 41-22. The first-half performance ensured they took home another five points, placing them second in the table.
Galwegians head to Clonmel in County Tipperary this Saturday for round three of the AIL season with kick-off at 14:30.