City rugby rivals ready for head to head

City rivals Corinthians and Corinthians go head to head in an early season league fixture that takes place under lights in Cloonacauneen at 8pm.

Both sides enjoyed winning starts to their Energia AIL division 2B campaigns, Corinthians bagging a bonus point in their 25-0 win away to Ballina, while Galwegians enjoyed an 18-10 win at home to Sligo.

Corinthians, at home and with superior Connacht Senior League results, will have the advantage, but Galwegians will have been boosted having overcome the much-fancied and current league champions Sligo on the opening weekend of AIL action.

Sligo, despite dominating the early exchanges up front, struggled to gain their rhythm in the face of a hard-working Wegian defence at Crowley Park last Saturday.

Sligo missed an opening penalty through fullback Euan Brown, and the visitors were not helped when former Connacht player, centre Mata Fifita, was sin-binned just after the first quarter for a late tackle.

The Blues, coached by former Connacht player Andrew Browne, took advantage of the extra man when minutes later they scored the first try of the game. It came from an excellent penalty touch-finder, and when hooker Andrew Paton found his man, a few pick and goes softened up the Sligo defence before flanker Mikey O’Donnell was driven over the line near the right-corner, for his fifth try this season. Ewan Strang, playing for the first time at outhalf, was unlucky when his difficult conversion attempt shaved the posts.

The visitors responded two minutes later following an infringement from the restart, and Brown landed an excellent kick from the 10m line to reduce the gap to 5-3. However Wegians started to dominate territory and possession, and on 36 minutes they struck a blow when centre Tommy Downes won the race to touch down under the posts after Strang, who also converted, had placed a deft chip behind the cover for a half-time lead 12-10.

In the second-half Wegians took control. Strang's long-range penalty drifted just wide in the wind, and dogged Sligo defence kept the home side from scoring until the outhalf converted a penalty for offside on 48 minutes to restore a five-point lead.

The home side remained on top with Sligo unable to break out of their own half. While Strang was again unlucky with another couple of penalty attempts, including one where the ball blew over during his run-up, Galwegians constant pressure was finally rewarded on 72 minutes when another offside infringement yielded a further penalty which Strang converted to give his side an eight-point cushion.

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