- Result: Galwegians U13 4 - Thomond 0
- Venue: UL Bohemians on Sat Apr 14th 2012
Galwegians U13 White team travelled to Limerick on Saturday for the 29th annual running of UL Bohemians Pat Lawlor memorial tournament. The tournament is played to mini rugby rules and is a 10 a side competition. So it took a bit of time to reacquaint ourselves with the mini rules, having spent the past season adapting to the 15 a side game.
Wegians started strongly winning their first game 3 - 1 against an Ennis side, who were this year's North Munster U13 league champions. Unfortunately we had to play immediately after the Ennis game against Shannon who had watched our game and planned accordingly to combat our strengths, which they did successfully, winning 4 - 0. Our final group game was against Highfield 1 from Cork, which we felt we needed to win to progress. After leading at half time, we ending up losing, 3 - 2. This ensured a nervous wait to see if we progressed to a quarter final.
We progressed to the knockout stages of the Pat Lawlor Perpetual Shield with a quarter final against Wexford Wanderers 2 which we won 4 tries to 2. At this stage a combination of the hard grounds and some very physical games meant our squad was reduced to 15 fit players. We progressed to the semi final against Thurles, and proceeded to play out a 0-0 draw. The game went into extra time with a further 2 minutes per half, which meant that any mistakes would be severely punished and the team that scored first was likely to progress. At the end of extra time it finished nil all. The rules were the team with the least players sent off would progress, both teams had an unblemished record, so it then went to tries scored throughout the competition. A nervous wait for both teams resulted in Galwegians progressing to the final as we had scored 9 tries to Thurles 8 tries.
The rugby we were playing was getting better and better with the semi-final being our strongest performance of the day, unfortunately we had lost another player to injury. The final was to be against Thomond, who had eliminated our group conquerors, Highfield 1, in the other semi-final, also on tries scored as that semi-final had also ended in a draw so we knew we had to up our game further, and felt that it was going to be a very close game where we needed to get in front and stay in front.
The game was very tight in the early stages with both teams very evenly matched. Thomond kept going to their main strike runner, who was unable to make any ground, due to some excellent tackling from Wegians, which prevented Thomond from gaining ground and getting away. We inched closer to the Thomond tryline, thanks to some excellent rucking and finally Cathal O'Dwyer squeezed in at the corner while managing to keep his legs off the try line for the first score. After that there was only one team in it with Aaron White Martyn scoring a further three tries.
It's fair to say we played our best rugby of the tournament in the final against a much bigger team. Our rucking was first class, the tackling, movement and passing was of a very high standard, and it all came together at the right time, resulting in a 4 - 0 win to Galwegians.
Every player contributed to our success, but a special mention has to be made of captain for the day, Aaron White Martyn, who scored in every match, bar one, and 9 of our 13 tries. (we might make him captain more often!)
Fortunately none of the injuries were too serious, and seemed to disappear once the referee blue the final whistle. We had a great day, and all that remained was for our Blue squad to do the business on Sunday, which they did, capping a great weekend for our U13 squad.