Galwegians secured their first away win in 18 months and made it three wins on the trot in the Energia AIL Division 2B when they comfortably beat Dungannon in Saturday's Energia AIL Division 2B contest.
It was Galwegians' first win at Stevenson Park against their long-standing AIL rivals from Tyrone.
The Blues went into this game in confident mood after two recent wins over Malahide and Ballina. Playing against the breeze in the first half, they enjoyd the majority of the possession and the territory, but failed to put any points on the board. While their scrum was dominant, the lineout was less efficient, but eventually, near the half-hour mark, they scored the opening try when Wegians’ hooker Christy Reilly charged down an attempted clearance, and raced to ground the ball.
Although the conversion was missed, this settled the Blues, while it unnerved the hosts whose discipline started to cost them. When hooker Mal Allister and flanker Adam Milligan were binned in the final 10 minutes of the opening half, this period proved the winning and losing of the game.
Wegians struck decisively with two more tries in rapid succession. Try number two came from a well-worked lineout move. Scrumhalf Rory Gaffney found No 8 Kieran Downey, who fed fellow backrow Mikey O’Donnell. After breaking through the middle, he supplied in-form winger Sanz Sibande who finished under the posts for a superb score. Outhalf Ewan Strang converted and the Blues were good value for a 12-0 lead.
Things got even better when the third try came straight from the restart. When the ball was worked wide, centre Diarmuid Kilgallen combined well with fullback Conor O’Shaughnessy to set up another attack. A couple of phases later, Gaffney threw a great pass to captain Marty Cummins who in turn fed Sibande, and the speedster touched down in the corner to give Galwegians a comfortable 17-0 half-time lead.
Dungannon, with a mountain to climb, threw everything at the Blues in the second half. When Downey was binned close to his own line midway through the half, the hosts opted for the scrum, but excellent defence from Gaffney saw him make a try-saving tackle into touch.
Wegians had plenty attacking opportunities to get the bonus point, but the one real chance came late on from a turnover in defence. From a kick ahead, Sibande came within a whisker of grounding the ball for what would have been a hat-trick. Instead the second half remained scoreless.
The win sees Wegians retain fifth position, but they are now a single point behind fourth-placed Wanderers. Next up for Galwegians is a home fixture against Belfast Harlequins at Crowley Park on Saturday. (2.30pm ).
Galwegians XV: Conor O’Shaughnessy, Sandile Sibande, Diarmuid Kilgallen, Daniel Faulkner, James Kennedy, Ewan Strang, Rory Gaffney, Conor Kyne, Christy Reilly, Ryan Lomas, Eoin Tarmey, Marty Cummins (Captain ), Josh Dunne, Michael O’Donnell, Kieran Downey. Subs, Andrew Paton, Shane Ryan, Matt Towey, Eamonn Dowling, Sean O’Sullivan.
Corinthians move up table
Corinthians secured a valuable win over Greystones at Corinthian Park on friday night, but they had to work hard for the points, prevailing by 23-21.
The win moves them into third place, but level on points with the County Dublin outfit. Greystones dropped into second as a result of the defeat with Blackrock taking top spot with a sixth win from seven outings.
After a solid start to the season for JP Cooney’s side, winning five games from seven, they now face a real test of their title credentials when they travel to face the new league leaders Blackrock, who have lost only one fixture to date and boast the meanest defence in the division.