All Ireland League action resumes on Saturday with Galwegians facing the long trek north to Ballymena.
This should prove a tense encounter for Galwegians against a side that sits just one place behind Galwegians on the division 1B league table. Ballymena boast a superior scoring tally , but the number of points conceded is greater, and Galwegians will be hoping to exploit that at Eaton Park.
In a tight division, home advantage should aid Ballymena’s chances, but Galwegians enter the contest after a strong win over Old Belvedere which has given them confidence.
In another division 1B match Buccaneers enjoy a home tie against Ballynahinch who have posted just one win this season in the league.
Corinthians will be keen to add to their successes in division 2. They sit midtable with three wins from five games, and if they play to potential, that should improve again on Saturday against a Dublin University side that has managed just one victory.
Also at home are Connemara and they will need to be at their best to see off fourth-placed Wanderers at Monastery Field.
Monivea advance in All Ireland Cup, but Wegians miss out
There were mixed results for Connacht clubs in this season’s All Ireland cup competitions.
In Sunday’s re-scheduled AIB Senior Cup quarter-final at Musgrave Park, Galwegians came unstuck to the in-form division 1A side Dolphin by 24 - 10, ending their hopes for another season, while in the re-fixed Junior Cup quarter-final, Monivea secured a place in the semi-finals with a tough 6 - 0 victory over Cashel RFC in Cashel. In a tight and tense contest only two second-half Ger O’Rourke penalties separated the sides, but it was enough for Monivea to become the first Connacht club to reach the semi-finals of this competition. They will now host City of Derry on Decemeber 19 in what promises to be a competitive encounter. Derry demolished their quarter-final opponents Boyne by 45 - 5.
Galwegians failed to take advantage of the first-half breeze, and errors proved costly. When the Blues failed to find touch, Dolphin centre Eric Maloney instigated an attack before Munster’s backrow Nick Williams sent Barry O’Mahony over for a try. As expected Dolphin outhalf Barry Keeshan landed the conversion for a 7 - 0 lead.
Galwegians were able to reduce the arrears before half time when centre Dave Clarke posted a penalty, but they were rocked soon after the restart. Keeshan cancelled Clarke’s penalty, and on 47 minutes the Leesiders struck for their second try. Once again the Dolphin backrow was influential with both Williams and O’Mahony involved before right wing Niall O’Donovan finished off with Keeshan added the extras.
Although down 17 - 3, Galwegians fought their way back into the game, dominating for much of the remainder of the game, they could not break down a determined and disciplined Dolphin defence. Wegians’ fullback Liam Bibo almost made the breakthrough but was called back for a forward pass, and with time running out, the Blues were finally rewarded when substitute prop Ronan Loughney crashed over under the posts for a try.
Clarke added the conversion to bring the visitors within a score at 17-10 but Dolphin scored almost from the restart. This time it was Williams who finished off when he powered over from close range, and Keeshan’s conversion restored a 14-point advantage to make sure of victory.
GALWEGIANS: L Bibo; M Butler (sub R O’Beirn ), A Esera, D Clarke, J Cleary; R Shaughnessy, K Campbell; J Naughton, C Muldoon, J Stephens (sub R Loughney ); B McClearn, L Scahill (sub J Moran ); A Conboy (sub D Boyd ), I Muldoon (capt ), A Olive.