- Result: Galwegians Firsts 7 - Greystones 57
- Venue: Greystones RFC on Sat Jan 29th 2022
- Competition: AIL Division 2B
It was another chastening defeat for Galwegians on Saturday in AIL Division 2B. But despite the scoreline it was a game from which they can actually take a lot of encouragement, as for long periods they really put it up to the runaway League leaders Greystones at Dr. Hickey Park.
Played in bright dry conditions, the hosts got off to the perfect start with a try in the first minute off their very first attack, with flanker Conor McAleer finishing in the left-hand corner. The ultra reliable Killian Marmion landed the touchline conversion to give his side an immediate 7-0 lead.
However Wegians were not overawed at this point and they went on to utterly dominate the remainder of the first quarter. They took on their much vaunted opponents and were gaining ground at every turn. Newly converted out-half Kelvin Langan had a chance to reduce the gap on 10 minutes but shaved the outside of the post with a penalty attempt. However 2 minutes later their pressure and dominance was rewarded through an excellent try which was really well finished by the ever-improving Ben McGuinness. Langan’s conversion came back off the upright but over the crossbar to level the scores.
The Blues continued to dominate their slightly rattled hosts, and shortly afterwards Langan missed another penalty which would have given them a deserved lead. A couple of other try-scoring opportunities went abegging as their territorial dominance was not converted into points. And continuing a trend in recent games, their opponents made them pay by taking every opportunity which came their way. Early into the second quarter ‘Stones regained the lead when no. 8 Dan Mannion finished on the right after the home side punctured the Wegians rearguard, with Marmion adding the extras.
Although Wegians got back into it and again threatened to score, another Stones line-break saw their defence in trouble and just before the half-hour mark winger Nick Quirk got in for his side’s third try. This gave them a flattering 21-7 lead despite being on the hind foot for most of the game. 5 minutes later and in another counter-attack, Quirk completed his brace and secured the bonus point, underscoring how lethal the home attack can be when given any gaps. Then right on half-time, when awarded a penalty in their own 22, Wegians winger Conor O’Shaughnessy attempted a risky quick tap and chip ahead into open space. He came desperately close to gathering and potentially running in from deep, but instead saw his opposite number Paudie Geoghegan gratefully collect and catch the napping home defence to rub salt deep into the wound and give his team a quite remarkable 33-7 half-time lead.
The contest was well and truly over at this point, and in the second-half the hosts turned the screw. In the third quarter they tagged on two more tries, with Mannion completing his brace before the immense hooker Tee Mthembu barged over from close-in on the hour mark. The Blues tried gallantly to keep going and had their chances, substitute Andrew Paton coming close on at least one occasion. But the home defence held solid and instead substitute back Alex Ryan ran in two late tries to put an increasingly flattering gloss on the final scoreboard.
So it was another very harsh lesson for this young, albeit understrength Blues side who learning the hard way how their inability to take their chances, matched with the ability of their opponents to gain maximum return from their own opportunities, can lead to margins of this magnitude. But by all accounts it was a very harsh reflection on the game as a whole.
Next up for Wegians is a vital bottom of the table clash at home to fellow strugglers Malahide on Saturday 19th , albeit the visitors have hit form after emphatically overcoming Corinthians away last weekend in impressive fashion.