Galwegians made it four wins on the trot in the Energia AIL Division 2B when they came away with a third successive home bonus-point win against Belfast Harlequins on Saturday.
This victory means that Andrew Browne’s Wegians have taken 19 points of the last 20, which has moved them into joint fourth position. One of the other teams on the same points tally is Wanderers, who the Blues will face this coming Saturday December 14 on the Aviva Stadium back pitch.
Last Saturday, playing with the aid of a strong first-half breeze, Wegians dominated the opening exchanges, and were rewarded on 10 minutes when a well-judged chip from Aussie outhalf Will Goddard was secured by Diarmuid Kilgallen for the opening try, with Goddard adding the extras for a 7-0 lead.
By the 17th minute Wegians had doubled their lead with try number two. A block-down almost led to a try for the returning lock Matt Towey, but from the resulting 5m scrum, a series of pick and goes was finished in style by inside centre Tommy Downes, who took a beautiful line to crash through the middle and dot down under the posts. Goddard again added the extras and Wegians were looking comfortable at 14-0.
Any thoughts of running away with a win were soon dispelled when a lapse in concentration saw the hosts spill the restart. From the resulting set-piece, Harlequins worked their way upfield and scored from their first meaningful attack, with back-row Jona Siri going over near the right-hand corner for an unconverted try.
The Ulstermen, however, lost two players to the sinbin - for a deliberate knock-on by prop James Harrison and a late hit by flanker Daryl Marshall. Although Goddard was off target with another long-range effort near the left touchline, Wegians made their numbers count soon after when Mikey O’Donnell scored from a well-worked lineout maul, with Goddard landing an excellent conversion to stretch the lead to 21-5.
The tide turned again when Wegian captain Marty Cummins was yellow carded shortly afterwards, and Quins laid siege to the line. And, from a strike against the head, Marshall touched down near the posts with Coby Miln adding the extras to reduce the arrears to nine points at the break.
Quins, with the wind at their backs in the second half, were immediately on the attack, winning a penalty. However, from a quick tap, they were kept out by stoic Wegian defence, and thereafter butchered several chances. However, a poor restart from Wegians in the 53rd minute gave the Belfast side an attacking platform, and they capitalised when full-back and captain Mark Glover crossed in the left corner for a third try, reducing the arrears to four points.
Wegians, showing great character, struck a telling blow on 60 minutes when, from a charge down, O’Donnell set up an attack in the corner with Kilgallen scoring his second try, and crucially his side’s fourth to extend the gap back to nine points.
Quins then threw everything at their hosts in the final quarter, but they were met by a resolute home defence. However, Quins salvaged a deserved bonus point when they kicked a penalty deep in stoppage time.
Galwegians XV: C O’Shaughnessy, S Sibande, D Kilgalle, T Downes, S O’Sullivan, W Goddard, R Gaffney, C Kyne, C Reilly, R Lomas, M Towey, M Cummin (captain ), J Dunne, M O’Donnell, K Downey. Subs: A Paton, S Ryan, C Wilson, D Hamill, E Dowling.
Corinthians go joint top
Corinthians continued to their strong form this season with a superb victory over Blackrock at Stradey Park on Saturday. The 13-24 victory ensured JP Cooney's side has now joined league leaders Greystones at the top of the table. They now share the same number of points with six wins from eight, but sit second only by virtue of Greystones' superior points difference. Blackrock have now dropped to third.
Corinthians produced four tries in the win, to before the break to lead 12-6 with Rock relying on their boot with two penalties. However, there was no way back when the visitors produced another two tries to take a 6-24 lead after 58 minutes.