- Result: Galwegians Firsts 8 - Ballina 8
- Venue: Heffernan Park on Fri Sep 8th 2023
- Competition: Friendly
Galwegians held on to a draw after a narrow 8-8 result under the lights at Ballina last Friday evening, despite immense pressure from the hosts in the latter stages of the game.
With the sun setting in Heffernan Park, it would be Galwegians who struck first, with full-back Darragh Kennedy kicking it between the posts to take the lead early on in the first half.
But Ballina really began to apply the pressure on the visitors, keeping them firmly in their own half for the majority of the opening 40 minutes. Errors began to creep in with a high tackle being the catalyst for the hosts’ first attempt on goal, which just clipped the post and the ball eventually going dead in the aftermath.
Ballina’s resilience paid off with Wegians failing to roll away and conceded another penalty in striking distance. Cody Chilcott rectified his earlier miss and put three points on the board to bring them level at 3-3.
Injuries continued to impact the Blues with Kennedy forced to come off with Tiernan Neville resuming kicking duties. Galwegians were then down to 14 men to make matters worse after Ollie Feely was sent to the bin for ten minutes.
Possession remained decisively in the visitors’ half with more opportunities arising for the hosts but they couldn’t convert into any scores with great fighting spirit from Galwegians in their own 22. The last chance of the half came from a Ballina penalty from half-way which just fell short of the marks before half-time.
Despite most of the first-half being dominated by the Mayo side, it would be the Blues that would empathically put themselves in front. After a robust lineout five metres away from the try-line, a strong, determined charge from the maul headed towards the line with hooker Nicky Lawless touching down for the try to give Galwegians a five point lead. Neville just missed the conversion meaning they couldn’t stretch their advantage leaving the score at 8-3 to the Blues.
The lead wouldn’t last long however with Ballina finally being advantageous with their supremacy in the opposition half. A clever chip from Cody Chilcott into the corner was collected by Bradley Nealon as Wegians couldn’t deal with a straggling loose ball, going over the line to level proceedings at 8-8. A missed conversion ensured that the hosts’ wouldn’t take the lead.
Ballina only intensified their efforts in the last remaining minutes of the game with the visitors continuing to concede penalties in their own 22 and putting Ballina in prime position to steal the win. But a knock-on five metres away from home scuppered their chances of taking victory and couldn’t make their chances count with a few minutes remaining on the clock.
Full-time arrived and the two sides couldn’t be separated in 80 minutes and they shared the spoils of the evening, finishing 8-8. Galwegians are yet to secure a victory this season and hope to make matters right next weekend against Corinthians before they begin their AIL Division 2C campaign.
Galwegians will take on Corinthians in Corinthian Park for the next round of the Connacht Senior League at 19:30 on Friday 15th September.