Galwegians back to winning ways with bonus point victory

Caolin Blade of Galwegians sprints past a desperate tackle from Manihera Eden of  Ballynahinch in Saturday’s  Ulster Bank All-Ireland League division 1A game at Crowley Park. 				Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

Caolin Blade of Galwegians sprints past a desperate tackle from Manihera Eden of Ballynahinch in Saturday’s Ulster Bank All-Ireland League division 1A game at Crowley Park. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

Galwegians face another vital test away to Young Munster on Saturday in their bid to maintain their Ulster Bank League division 1A status.

Still second from bottom, a much-needed 33-16 bonus point victory against visitors Ballynahinch at Crowley Park on Saturday, reduced the gap in their attempt to haul in the mid-table teams - now a solitary point behind Cork Con and a mere two points behind sixth-placed Terenure.

Last Saturday's fixture was a must-win game for both sides, and despite playing into the elements, it was the Ulstermen who made the brighter start, taking the lead in the ninth minute when flanker Peter Brown burst through the cover to saunter over for the game’s opening try. Christopher Quinn had no problems with the swirling breeze to tag on the conversion.

The lead was shortlived as Wegians responded four minutes later when a blind-side break by scrumhalf Caolin Blade near halfway brought play right up to the line before centre Brian Murphy eventually dived over near the posts. Shane O’Leary added the extras to level the game.

Hinch, however, resumed their attack, and went back in front with two penalties, but the home side struck again following an excellent penalty touch-finder. From quick line-out ball. O’Learytook a great line to crash through the centre and score under the posts. His simple conversion put the Blues ahead for the first time.

The visitors continued to dominate the remainder of the half with their pack in the ascendancy, but the game swung on two key moments both sides of half time. Hinch, with a kickable penalty in the 39th minute, opted to scrum but a magnificent defensive scrum from the Blues saw them win a relieving penalty.

Then, following another excellent touch-finder, Blade once again pierced the defensive rearguard with a piercing run before finishing off good work from his supporting pack with try number three, with O’Leary’s conversion putting the home side in front by eight points at the break.

And Wegians produced a significant statement of intent after the restart when they shunted their opponents backwards from an attempted rolling maul and claimed a penalty. Although Quinn added a 45th minute penalty, that was the best they could produce as Galwegians regained the initiative.

The clinching bonus try came on the hour mark when a trademark break by veteran back John Cleary created an overlap and a sweet pass fed fullback Ciaran Gaffney who dived over near the left corner for another excellent score. O’Leary judged his conversion perfectly into the wind to put daylight between the sides.

Wegians had the final say with their back line once again doing the damage. This time Gaffney turned provider when a deft little grubber put O’Leary over on the left for his second and his side’s fifth try of the game.

Galwegians XV:Ciaran Gaffney; Cormac Brennan, Brian Murphy, Shane O’Leary, John Cleary; Dave Clarke, Caolin Blade; Ja Naughton (capt. ), Juan Anaya, Jason East, Dave Nolan, Marty Cummins; Anthony Ryan, Josh Pim, Marc Kelly. Replacements used: Doron McHugh, Aidan Moynihan, Paul Hackett, Paul O’Donnell, Matt Towey.

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