Towards a century at the heart of Connacht rugby

U18.5 Boys 23 – Corinthians 19


Match Result

  • Result: Galwegians U18 23 - Corinthians 19
  • Venue: Sportsground on Sun Jan 28th 2024
  • Competition: Connacht U18 League

Match Report

Galwegians’ second piece of silverware came this weekend from the U18s as they wrapped the league title with victory over fierce local rivals Corinthians in a pulsating final, emerging as 23-19 winners.

Corinthians started the game brightly with a series of attacks but Galwegians secured the turnover and worked themselves upfield following consecutive knock-ons. The Blues eventually found within kicking distance and after winning an early penalty, Calum Elwood opened the scoring with a 30m kick, giving Wegians a 3-0 lead.

Their first try of the afternoon came shortly afterwards, as Eoin Cuddy rounded off a superb team play to cross over for the first time in the final. Engrained inside the Corinthians half, Galwegians escaped with some strong carries from captain Conor Gibbs and Rory Gavin. Cuddy performed a lien break from thirty metres out and finished in the corner to make it 8-0.

Galwegians used the wind in their favour to keep Corinthians pinned inside their half. The Blues nearly grabbed a second, but Corinthians’ Mark Farragher defended brilliantly by holding up the ball and preventing the forwards’ surge. Corinthians discipline was becoming a hindrance and Elwood took advantage to score another penalty to make it 11-0.

Galwegians continued to dominate in the opening quarter of the game and looked set to win by a comfortable margin with their second try of the afternoon in quick succession. The turbulent wind was causing havoc on the lineouts, and Corinthians were now in the trenches, stuck inside their 22. After winning a scrum, Stephen Connolly exploited the space on the blindside to circle past Corinthians and score between the posts. Elwood added the extras to extend the lead to 18-0.

Corinthians were not out of the game by a long shot and enjoyed a spell of possession inside the opposition's 22 and were rewarded for their efforts with a late try in the final play of the first half. A patient build-up inside the Galwegians 22, saw their talisman Sean Walsh take a decoy line against the run of play and beat three defenders to score in the corner and leave the half-time score 18-5 in favour of Galwegians.

Corinthians continued their steady momentum into the second half as they continued to harass the Galwegians' defensive line. Galwegians were becoming vulnerable at the back of the scrum and captain Liam Cahill exploited the gaping hole to side-step past two defenders and score under the posts.  Ben Wall Cooke converted to leave the score 18-12 to Galwegians.

Galwegians responded with a bang as Ben O’Dwyer scored the Blue’s third try.  Jaynel Almanzar Corder ducked and dodged through several tackles to advance towards the Corinthians' five-meter line. From there scrum half Casserly commandeered his forwards back and forth in a series of rucks, before he O’Dwyer was free in the corner to score, leaving the score 23-12 to the Blues.

Corinthians didn’t give up and forced a tight gap in the scoreboard with another try. Galwegians failed to deal with a ball spiralling behind their defence and eventually conceded a penalty for a high tackle. Soon enough they found themselves defending a five-meter lineout and from the subsequent maul, Donagh Kilcommins drove over the line to score and with Wall Cooke adding the conversion it left the score 23-19.

With four points separating the teams, the game was now blown wide open as a try for either side would surely seal the title. Conor Gibbs bolted through the Corinthians' defence and set up another attack. Link-up play from Evan Cunningham and Stephen Connolly brought the ball to the Corinthians try line, and substitute scrum-half Miguel Rubio had a dive over the ruck to score a try disallowed, and Corinthians cleared their lines.

Both sides were down to 14 after yellows to Corinthians Christopher Donlon and Galwegians’ Conor Gibbs.  In the final five minutes, both sides had their opportunities. But time was not on the side of the Corinthians and their chances were spoiled. Elwood kicked the ball to touch and Galwegians were crowned league champions for this season in a spectacular rendition of the Galway derby.


P Sharkey, A Brown, E Cuddy, C Gibbs (C) B O’Dwyer, C Elwood, L Casserly, G O’ Hanlon, E Cunningham, J Almanzar Cordero, R Gavin, C Kelly, A Quinn. J Keane, S Connolly. Replacements: D Groarke, M Rubio.

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