- Result: Galwegians Firsts 8 - Belfast Harlequins 18
- Venue: Deramore Park on Sat Feb 26th 2022
- Competition: AIL Division 2B
Galwegians came away empty-handed yet again in the AIL Division 2B League on Saturday, although they ran strong favourites Belfast Harlequins close for long periods of this game.
Played in a swirling breeze at Deramore Park, it was the hosts who went in front on 4 minutes through an early penalty from Paul Kerr. Wegians then went on the attack straight from the restart and set up camp in the opposition 22. When awarded a penalty for offside, they opted to tap and go and tried to batter their way over the line. However they were repelled after a few phases, and when the ball was eventually spun wide to Karl Waterman, the winger dotted down in the right corner, only to be flagged for a foot in touch.
That early chance proved crucial as the hosts lifted the siege. Wegians were unlucky to be penalised in the scrum which was dominating early on, and Quins worked their way down into the Wegians half. They extended their lead on 15 minutes through a clinically executed lineout maul which led to a try for Joel Dundas, converted by Kerr from the touchline to stretch their lead to 10-0.
Galwegians chipped away at the lead when Morgan Codyre converted a penalty goal soon after to reduce the lead to 10-3. The Blues were unlucky not to get more opportunities as their dominant scrum was harshly penalised on another couple of occasions. Instead it was the hosts who took their chances, and before half-time it was déjà vu as another perfectly drilled lineout maul this time led to a try for Josh Bingham. Kerr was unlucky with the conversion but it gave his side a 15-3 halftime lead.
Wegians needed the next score, and it duly came soon after the restart, and what a score at that. From a set-play inside their 10m line, the ball was worked through the hands and some excellent offloading from Codyre, skipper Kieran Downey and Darragh Kennedy set flanker Ben McGuinness free. The young Wexford native showed great footwork to sidestep the covering tackle and score in the left-hand corner. Codyre’s conversion attempt was blown wide by the swirling breeze but at 15-8 it was suddenly game on.
Unfortunately Wegians never really created a strong platform to kick on. Some front-row substitutions, where they finished with two hookers, started to have an impact at scrum-time. The hosts regained a stranglehold, with Wegians’ ball continuously being slowed down at the breakdown As the wind got stronger and the temperature dropped, the game became more fractured and niggly a times, which probably played into the hands of the hosts. However the Blues did still have their chances, and while looking threatening in attack, Quins repulsed a series of Galwegians attacks as the game wore on.
Codyre was off target with a late penalty attempt, which again fell victim to the wind. And with five minutes remaining, Quins forced an offside penalty on the 22, and this time Kerr may no mistake to put two scores between them and make the game safe. The Blues did have one last shot when camped in the Quins 22 for the last 3 minutes, but they were unable to capitalise and unfortunately came home empty-handed again. So it was another disappointing end to a game for Wegians, whose next encounter is another game against Northern opposition when their old foes Dungannon make the trip down to Crowley Park this Saturday (2.30pm k-o).