- Result: Galwegians Firsts 45 - Rainey OB 26
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Feb 25th 2023
- Competition: AIL Division 2B
A sunny Saturday morning set the scene for a fantastic game of rugby as Galwegians faced off against AIL Division 2B third-place Rainey Old Boys at an early kick-off of 12pm.
With every game as important as a final, a loss would be detrimental to Galwegians with Enniscorthy hot on their tales at the bottom of the table.
Rainey kicked off towards the Crowley Park clubhouse with Galwegians wasting no time in clearing their lines. The following kick chase resulted in a clash of heads between both fullbacks. Galwegians fullback Darragh Kennedy was then removed from the game with a nasty gash above his eye and Jordan Thompson coming on to replace him.
Galwegians drew first blood only moments later playing with intent driving at the Rainey defence. Out-half Kelvin Langan spotted his opportunity to break away and touch down under the posts, with centre Mark Earle adding the extras.
Rainey attempted to play deep in their opponent’s half from the restart but Wegians handled it well, Langan kicking into the space behind the Rainey line, winning Galwegians a 50-22 and a great attacking platform.
A well-taken line out resulted in captain Kieran Downey breaking off the back of the maul and making a dominant carry to get his hands free in the tackle. A sublime offload allowed Connacht star Shayne Bolton to finish over-the-whitewash. Galwegians leading 14-0 after just nine minutes.
Rainey began to up the tempo but the Blue’s defence held strong weathering any attacks launched by the Derry men.
In the 23rd minute, Wegians extended their lead, this time through winger Karl Waterman breaking down the wing to touch down. Earle with no mistakes from the boot to make it 21-0
Wegians looked like they had secured the bonus point try only moments later, Waterman touching down for his second but the ball was gathered with a foot in touch, and the try disallowed. Rainey breathing a sigh of relief.
But this was short-lived a great break from outside centre Rob Deacy, linking up with Andrew Sherlock who shipped the ball to Joseph Agbo. Agbo then threw an outrageous back door pass to send Mayo man Gary Duffy over in the corner. Earle nailing the difficult kick from out wide.
With the bonus point now secured Wegians began to play with an air of confidence in every area of the field. Sherlock turning the screw once more blocking down a box kick, the ball propping up perfectly as he saunters into the corner for Galwegians fifth of the game, the score now 33-0.
Rainey finally found their feet towards the end of the half putting the home side under all kinds of pressure. As the home side’s discipline began to slip Rainey capitalised, pushing deep into the Wegians half with just enough time to launch one last attack before the halftime whistle.
A well-taken line out transferred into an efficient maul pushing the home side back onto their line. Following a couple of strong carriers the blues managed to hold the visitor up on the line, the whistle calling it quits and the home supporters exhaling a sigh of relief.
At half-time Wegians were forced to make some changes. With Deacy being withdrawn due to a wrist injury and no backs left on the bench flanker Ben McGuinness made his way onto the wing.
Only minutes into the half McGuinness found himself on the end of a fantastic bridge pass, putting on the footwork to beat three Rainey defenders and score the home side’s sixth of the game.
With a 38-point lead, Galwegians became sloppy in their execution, Connor Fitzsimmons intercepting a pass to see Rainey get their first score of the game. Scott McLean slotting the conversion.
With their confidence growing, Rainey began to identify the home side’s weakness at the maul. With Galwegians were then reduced to 14 when Downey saw yellow for collapsing the maul. Rainey went straight back to the corner in search of their second try, and they found it through winger Mickey O’Neill.
Rainey found their third try in the 57th minute through hooker Dan O’Neill steering the maul over the Wegians line, McLean pulling the conversion wide the score now 38-19.
Galwegians found an answer after only four minutes a great break from Earle put Agbo away under the posts, Earle once again making no mistakes with the conversion.
Rainey were adamant not to go home empty-handed, finding the energy to score a bonus point try in the 83rdminute to finish the game with an impressive 45-26 score.
This was just the performance that Galwegians needed ahead of their game against Sligo in Hamilton Park this coming Saturday.