- Result: Galwegians U15 29 - Sligo 27
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sun Mar 17th 2019
- Competition: Connacht U15 Cup
An overcast breezy afternoon perfect for rugby as Galwegians playing right to left received the Sligo kick off and straight away Callum Brown carried into attack as they built a sequence of solid moves. However after a knock on Sligo put in at the scrum led to a penalty as Wegians engaged early and Sligo immediately gained 30m and moved well into the Wegians half. So followed a sequence of knock on and early engagements by Wegians at the scrum, they were found to be offside at one of the breakdowns and Sligo duly slotted the penalty from the 22 line to take an early 0-3 lead.
After a high tackle from Sligo, Wegians put together three good passes and a solid kick and chase that moved them into the Sligo 22 for the first time in the opening ten minutes. Sligo managed to kick to the halfway line in the middle of the park where Tiarnan Leen carried up to contact he offloaded perfectly to Luca Peikrishvili who in turn made yards moving to the left and he then passed to the flying Dillion Kitt. The six foot winger put his foot down and outstripped all the defenders as he made 35m on his way to the corner by the gate for a sizzling try, Wegians were back in contention, conversion missed from an acute angle but they lead 5-3.
After the Sligo re-start Wegians knocked on and the visitors pushed their way to 10m from the Wegians line. Galwegians repelled the attack but their number 8 showed a good turn of speed as he glided past three tackles to give Sligo their first try and with the conversion they took a 5-10 lead.
Wegians regrouped and there was a concentration of good play inside the Sligo half, but good rucking and stout defence saw Sligo clear their lines. After some sloppy passing from Wegians, Sligo were patient and had some solid build up play on the left hand side of the Wegians 22, eventually after ten phases they broke into the try zone and touched down under the posts, they duly converted the simple kick and Wegians were 5-17 behind with five minutes of the half to play.
Wegians had a very good kick off and won the ensuing lineout, hard yards were gained by Aidan Crowe and Wegians came roaring back into the Sligo 22. The home team were awarded a penalty after Sligo went in from the side of a ruck, Ben McHugh carried well as they took the fight to Sligo. Sadly another knock on handed possession back to the opposition. The ensuing scrum saw Sligo break the defensive line easily and three of four passes later they had gained 40m down the field into the Wegians 22. Stout defence from the boys in light blue as they got their hands on the ball they moved play from right to left. Aidan Crowe pounced from the back of the ruck as he powered his way up the middle of the field gaining ten yards. Colin Counihan played a clever kick over the top, further great carries from Callum , Aidan and Luca saw Wegians now 8m from the Sligo line on the left side of the pitch. Sligo repelled the attack but were deemed to be offside and Eoghan Harlowe tapped and went at the defenders on the right, when his progress was stopped he was supported by Aidan Crowe who carried to within one meter of the line, but further excellent support play say Eoin O' Regan saw him dive over to give Wegians a foothold in the game, they missed the conversion from a tight angle and the scores stood at 10-17 half time.
With a light wind at their back Wegians were straight on the front foot as Sligo knocked on under pressure in the first two minutes, however in the next couple of plays Sligo managed to ruck Galwegians off the ball and their lightening quick number thirteen was at it again as he skipped past three Galwegians tackles and sprinted down the line gaining forty meters as he touched down under the posts, easily converted Sligo had moved into a commanding lead of 10-24.
Eoin O' Regan led the charge as Wegians had a sustained period of pressure, however another knock on from Wegians in a commanding position was starting to take its toll and the fans were wondering if they will be able to get back into this game. With time on the clock another spirited move from Wegians team was launched with the forwards and backs combining to gain ground, Jack Lynott and Bobby Power made headway on the left hand side of the pitch as Wegians gained a strong territorial advantage. This twelve phase attack got Wegians to within eight meters of the Sligo line, in the ensuing ruck Aidan Crowe picked from the ball and sprinted through the middle of the pack to touch down under the posts. Fabien Fleetwood converted to make the score 17-24. Game on once again.
Wegians tails were up and Eoghan Harlowe caught the kick off and manoeuvred his way between the defenders gaining twenty five meters in the process with his power and skill. Colin Counihan was on hand to keep the move going forward as he played a clever kick and chase, Harry Walsh was first to arrive as Sligo's defence was put under pressure once again. They struggled to clear their lines but eventually kicked to touch about twenty five meters out. However it was a case of one step forward and another backwards as Sligo stole Wegians lineout at the front and the speedy number thirteen sprinted between two Wegian players to make twenty five meters before being bundled into touch. With fifteen minutes to go Sligo got a penalty in front of the posts and converted to make it 17-27.
Surely the game was out of Wegians reach now? but this team would not lie down and they showed great courage to keep on trying to the very last moment. Right from the next kick off Callum Brown gave chase and Fabien Fleetwood put further pressure on the Sligo defenders, they were penalised for going in from the side of the ruck and the advantage was with Wegians again. A quick tap and go from Colin saw play move from right to left as the ball was played through the hands of Kelly, Walsh, Power and Harlowe who offloaded to a charging Leen on the wing, sadly Sligo disrupted and caused Wegians to knock it on when only seven meters from the line. Wegians knew this was the moment where the game would be won or lost and they had their most sustained period of pressure in the second half right here, they were determined to keep Sligo pinned in their 22. With ten minutes to go Tiarnan showed a turn of pace and great feet to pass three players, Luca supported well wide on the left and gained another six or seven yards with the last three gained on his knees. Wegians had three further forward surges that now had them camped on the Sligo line. Firstly Bobby Power dived in on the right of the ruck but was stopped half a meter short, then Harry Walsh dived in on the left of the ruck but has stopped six cm short, Power went again on the left of the ruck but was stopped again. Finally Aidan Crowe picked and dived on the right and managed to squeeze in to touch down behind the line. Great team effort from all the Wegians players, the score stood at 22-27 and Fabien Fleetwood kept a cool head as he kicked a perfect conversion and the Sligo lead was just three points 24-27.
Wegians attacked again from the Sligo kick off Callum Brown and David Kelly gaining fifteen meters as play moved towards the halfway line. Fleetwood and Crowe combined to gain another fifteen meters, Sligo were rocking. Callum once again showed a great turn of pace and agility as he skipped past two tackles and then used his speed to beat the third and fourth players as play moved into the Sligo 22 on the left hand side of the pitch. He had the presence of mind to step another two players before he passed outside to Tiarnan Leen who avoided the final defender to touch down to loud cheers from the home supporters. He had scored the pivotal try to give Wegians the lead for the first time in the game with just two minutes on the clock, somehow the home team had gained a 29-27 lead. Coach Niall Gallagher was almost hoarse shouting encouragement from the touch line and all the parents and supporters were thrilled to have witnessed this magnificent comeback. Fabien Fleetwood had an acute angle to kick the conversion and despite putting a great boot on the ball it drifted right of the post and wide.
Wegians were in no mood to give it up now and Harlowe, Kelly and Crowe all carried to gain yardage. Brown made another significant move down the left to advance play to the Sligo 22. Colin Counihan marshalled his troops well in the last couple of minutes it was all Wegians as they continued to push for another score. Eventually the referee blew his final whistle and three cheers of hooray rang out for this brave and fearless Wegians team, they really are turning in some great performances as the season goes on. Focus and concentration are required for the upcoming semi-final and a strong defence will be required, the hope is they will not give up scores so easily in the next match. This was a fantastic game to watch and amazing play from the Wegians U15 team.
Roll on the semi-final on Saturday week 30th March in Ballinasloe its 2:30pm v Ballinasloe.