- Result: Galwegians Seconds 13 - Monivea 8
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sun Feb 26th 2012
- Competition: Connacht J1A League
Galweigans 2nds and Monivea brightened up a dank, dreary day in Galway on Sunday with a cracking Heineken Junior Cup semi-final in Crowley Park.
Monivea were favourites for the match, having beaten Wegians 2nds by 32 points earlier in the season, but Wegians are a different prospect now.
Both sides tore into each other as they looked for weaknesses in the oppositions defense. Both defenses showed their worth, but it didn't detract from a fascinating game between the team who have been there and done that as against the callowness of youth.
The first score of the game came on 17 minutes when Darragh Leader slotted a penalty after some foul play earned Monivea No.8 Owen Rooney a yellow card. 3-0
Monivea showed all their wiliness while down to 14 men to hold Wegians to just one more penalty.6-0
There were no more scores in the half, altough it took some heroic defending from Wegians as Monivea centre Kevin Higgins cut a swathe across the field before being stopped just short of the line.
It was a real ding-dong battle and the half ended with Leader just missing the right-hand upright with a long distance penalty. Half-time 6-0.
Monivea upped the intensity at the start of the second half and excellently worked and overlap for substitute Coleman Maher to score in the right hand corner just 2 minutes into the new half. The difficult conversion was missed. 6-5.
The game was now on a knife edge. It swung in favour of Wegians when Monivea received their 2nd yellow card of the match. 2nd row William Parker was binned for a spear tackle on Wegians scrum-half Martin Connolly.
This time Wegians made better use of the extra man. The pack powered down the field and got Wegians on the front foot with quick ruck ball. Outhalf Ross Shaughnessy sliced through a gap in the Monivea defense and expertly offloaded to the supporting centre substitute Dave Symes. Symes danced through to the five metre line where he was hauled down, however wing Shane Thompstone had taken a superb trail line off Symes and gathered the beautiful offload to crash over by the posts. Leader converted. 13-5.
Monivea showed the reason they are League champions by hitting straight back and getting within a score when outhalf Gerard O'Connor slotted a penalty within 2 minutes of the Wegian try. 13-8.
This entralling encounter now hung in the balance once again. Monivea found another gear and increased the intensity but the young Wegian team were not for shifting.
Some stoic defending led to the turning point in the game. Monivea were sweeping forward when Wegian centre Matt Dever executed a bone crunching tackle on his opposite number on the 22. Wegians knocked on and Monivea had a scrum in the middle of field on the 22.
The Wegians pack put in a monster 8 man shove in the scrum which allowed scrumhalf Connolly to steal the ball from the retreating Monivea pack, they recycled the ball and hoofed it downfield.
For then next 7 minutes and probably 40 phases, Monivea tried everything they could to breach the sky blue line, but the line was not for breaking, as hit after hit after hit was made on successive ball carriers. The men in red and black eventually conceded a penalty which was gleefully kicked out to signal the end of the game. Fulltime 13-8.