Galwegians edge closer to the top

Having jumped to third in the AIB League dvision 1B table with a worthy away win to Ballymena, Galwegians now have an opportunity to edge closer to the top with a home fixture against Young Munster on Saturday (2.30pm ).

Young Munster are currently sitting in second place with 20 points, and although Galwegians can only catch them with a bonus-point win, a victory is still essential if they want to close the gap between themselves and the pace-setters, led by Old Belvedere.

Galwegians will need to be prepared for a tough battle against a side known for its physicality. At the heart of Young Munster is player/coach Mike Prendergast, who has led his side to four victories, a draw (against Old Belvedere ), and just one loss - a 14-8 reverse away to Dungannon.

In addition to home advantage, Galwegians’ renewed confidence stems from their victory over Old Belvedere, which they followed up last week with a hard-fought 16-13 win over Ballymena.

They were helped by a perfect start - within five minutes a penalty kicked to the corner resulted in a try to No 8 Ati Olive who claimed the touch down after a forward drive to the line.

After centre Dave Clarke was wide with the conversion, Ballymena found their rythym. Some poor Galwegian defence did not help when Ireland u-19 international Luke Marshall sent in flanker Andrew Kerr to score an equalising try which scrumhalf David O'Hara converted.

He added a penalty to stretch the lead before Wegians levelled the game midway through the half. Top-scorer John Cleary initiated the break, and when Ireland u-19 international Tiernan O’Halloran chipped ahead and regathered, lock forward Liam Scahill was on hand to finish with an excellent try.

Clarke missed the conversion before Ballymena regained the lead with a second penalty from O’Hara. However the sides were level at the break after O’Halloran landed a neat drop-goal.

In a tense second half, which saw a player from each side sin-binned, it was Galwegians who prevailed when replacement Rob O’Beirn landed a penalty on 60 mintes to put Wegians in front.

GALWEGIANS: J Cleary; B Lee (sub R O’Beirn ), A Esera, D Clarke, T O'Halloran; R Shaughnessy, K Campbell; J Naughton (YC ), C Muldoon, J Stephens; L Scahill, B McClearn; A Conboy (sub S McGrath ), I Muldoon (capt ), A Olive.

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