Galwegians return to Crowley Park this weekend needing a win to help them avoid relegation from the Ulster Bank League division 1A. The task does not get any easier with top four side Garryowen visiting on Saturday (2.30pm ), and Galwegians are only too aware that points are desperately needed in their bid to steer clear of the relegation zone.
Galwegians lost to an efficient Garryowen in Dooradoyle bv 18-9 in October, but will hope home advantage will help them secure a much-needed win.
Their poor away form continued in Limerick on Saturday when they fell to high-flying Young Munster at a wet Tom Clifford Park by 29-13.
Galwegians had travelled for this re-arranged fixture in high hopes, having won the Crowley Park fixture in January, but those notions were scuppered by Young Munster's dominant second-half performance.
The home side struck early, capitalising on a loose clearance kick with outhalf Gearoid Lyons crossing in the left corner, but Wegians responded well to the setback and were rewarded on 15 minutes with a try. From a well-organised lineout maul, the home pack made 30 metres before Connacht's Sean O’Brien muscled his way over from close range to level.
Wegians dominated the remainder of the half, but were unable to capitalise. A key turning point came on the half-hour mark when the home side turned over possession at a Galwegian line-out. From the ensueing clearance kick. the home side, in only their second attack of the game, crossed the whitewash for a second time, with Adam Kennedy claiming the touchdown, and Lyons converting.
Once again Wegians responded, with Ed O’Keeffe winning a penalty, which Moynihan to reduce the margin to 12-8 at the break.
However the second half was a disappointment for the visitors as Munsters upped the intensity. Lyons stretched their lead to 15-8 with a penalty as the visitors struggled to cope with the increased tempo in the mudbath conditions. Sloppy defending and hesitancy were punished by a hungrier Munsters' pack, providing the opportunity for David O’Mahony to bag a third try, with Lyons landing the touchline conversion for a 22-8 lead.
Jack Dinneen, O’Brien and captain Ja Naughton fought hard up front, but Wegians struggled to keep possession in the conditions. On a miserable day for the Galway outfit, the home side added a fourth try, while Wegians' Api Pewhairangi finished off a fine individual break for a consolation try at the end.
Galwegians XV: John Cleary; Api Phewhairangi, Cormac Brennan, Brian Murphy, Ed O’Keeffe; Aidan Moynihan, Barry Lee; Ja Naughton (capt. ), Jack Dinneen, Doron McHugh; Anthony Ryan, Marty Cummins; Paul Hackett, Ronan Moore, Sean O’Brien. Subs: Jason East, Matthew Burke, David O’Connor, Adam Leavy, Alan McMahon.