- Result: Galwegians U17 12 - Skerries 31
- Venue: Naas on Sat Apr 5th 2014
- Competition: AIL U17 Cup
Galwegians Under 17s gave their all but came out second best against a superior Skerries side in the U-17’s All-Ireland Final in Naas on Saturday.
Galwegians were playing with the advantage of a moderate breeze in first half, and they got off to a disastrous start when a clearance kick was blocked down and Skerries pounced to score the opening try in the third minute. The try was converted for an early 7-0 lead. The Blues soon settled into their stride and put the setback behind them, and a few minutes later some pressure in the opposition half was rewarded when they forced an offside in front of the posts, and out-half Morgan Codyre converted the penalty to open his account and put the Blues on the scoreboard.
Wegians continued to dominate possession and territory, and midway through the half Codyre landed a beautiful drop-goal to reduce the deficit to a single point. Then just before the half-hour mark the out-half struck an excellent penalty from out wide to deservedly put the Blues in front for the first time in the game. However the danger posed by the Leinster champions was omnipresent and they had a try disallowed just before the break when the touch-judge spotted foul play in the build-up, meaning that Wegians took a 9-7 lead into half-time.
Wegians needed a solid start in the second-half, and poor concentration at the restart allowed the Skerries second row to make a magnificent break bringing play up to the line, and a simple offload put the supporting runner over. This put Wegians 12-9 in arrears, and playing against the breeze they had it all to do. However they gave chase to the game, and when Skerries had a player sin-binned the Blues looked set to capitalise. The next score would always prove crucial, and unfortunately it went against Wegians when the outstanding Skerries no. 4 slipped several tackles to power over the line for a third try, and a 17-9 lead.
With the wind slackening somewhat, the Blues did not give up the fight. Codyre soon landed a third penalty to reduce the gap to 17-12 and give his side a fighting chance entering the last quarter. Injuries were also piling up on Wegians and resources were being stretched to the limit. Despite this Wegians continued to scrap for every ball, but the north County Dublin men showed their attacking guile when good use of the ball saw them cross for a fourth try under the post, which was converted for a 24-12 lead.
Try as they might, unfortunately there was no way back for the Blues, and in the dying minutes Skerries put the icing on the cake when a powerful lineout maul was driven over for a fifth try, sealing a comprehensive victory on the day.
There was no arguing that the better side won, however for Wegians there was no shame in defeat , and the squad, coaches and management call all take huge pride from their achievement in reaching the Final.
Galwegians XV: William Finnerty: Jonah Culligan, Paul Butler, Ryan Hunt, Cian Healy; Morgan Codyre, Rory Gaffney; Darrog Smith, Cian Hornibrook, James Brogan; Shane Casserly, Feargal Dooley; Dumitru Iapti, Malcolm Hanley (capt.), Edward Martin.
Subs used: Leo Courtney, Josh Hays, Abdul-Haq Abayoni, Fiachra Griffin, Micheal Prendergast, Mark Lambert, David Robb, Cathal deLamport.