Frustrating start for Galway AIL clubs

It was a frustrating start to the new All Ireland League for both Galway sides. Galwegians got nothing to show for their efforts after a highly entertaining division 2A game at Blackrock on Saturday, losing 30-20 having led with five minutes remaining, while Corinthians were unable to capitalise on home support, losing to Belfast Harlequins by 11-15 in division 2B.

Corinthians now travel to Dublin to face Greystones on Saturday, while Galwegians host their first league match of the season when UL Bohemians, relegated from divison 1B last season, visit Crowley Park. In Athlone, Buccaneers open their division 1B season when Naas visit Dubarry Park - all matches at 2.30pm.

Galwegians will need a more clinical performance against UL Bohs, who will be determined to be in the promotion hunt this season. Against Blackrock, Wegians were punished for some errors despite a super start with an early try from Dave Clarke, which Morgan Codyre converted.

Wegians were well on top in the opening exchanges. Codyre stretched their lead to 10-0 on 15 minutes with a well-struck penalty, Blackrock capitalised on a knock-on when outhalf Peter Quirke danced through some soft defence to claim opening try, leave it 10-5.

While Wegians spurned a try-scoring change from an attacking five-mete line-out, Rock engineered an attacking lineout of their own, resulting in a try for captain and lock Hugh Doyle from a textbook maul in the left corner.

The visitors continued to dominate, but knock-ons and misplaced passes were costly despite a Codyre penalty for a 13-10 half-time lead.

Rock outhalf Quirke struck an excellent long-range effort in front of the posts to level the game again before Wegians produced an excellent attack which Clarke finished off, and Codyre converted for a 20-13 lead.

However this was as good as it got for Wegians. From a penalty, Blackrock's Quirke sold a dummy to bag his second try which he converted to level for the third time.

The turning point came on 70 minutes when Wegians’ debutant AIL winger Sean O’Sullivan was harshly sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on, and the hosts took full advantage to take a 25-20 lead. To rub salt into the wounds, a short 22 drop-out backfired resulting in a final score for the hosts to deny Wegians even a consolation bonus point.

There was no luck for Sligo, promoted to divison 2B last season, when they went down by just three points away to Sunday’s well. However Ballina flew the flag for the province with a superb 23-19 win over Omagh in their first outing in division 2B since returning to senior ranks in Heffernan Park.

Galwegians XV : Rory Gaffney; Sean O’Sullivan, Adi Donovan, Dave Clarke, Daniel Faulkner; Morgan Codyre; Stephen Browne; Fiachra Finnegan, Christy Reilly, Ryan Lomas; Anthony Ryan (c ), Eoin Tarmey; Ciaran Wilson, Paul Hackett, Michael O’Donnell. Subs: Andrew Paton, Martin Fox, Ronan Moore, David Symes, James Kennedy.

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