Galwegians host a crunch local derby clash with Buccaneers on Saturday (2.30pm ) at Crowley Park with money raised from the game being donated to earthquake hit Haiti.
Buccaneers’ need is the greater as they currently sit bottom of the division 1B table, but Galwegians’ hopes of a top finish this season could well depend on Saturday’s result.
Both sides suffered away defeats last weekend with Galwegians falling away to UCC 19 - 13 and Buccaneers losing at home to Ballymena by 16 - 13 to record their fifth defeat of the season. The only consolation for both was a bonus point, and crucially Galwegians’ tally of five this season, coupled with one extra win over Saturday’s rivals, sees them in fifth place in the league with 17 points.
The statistics would suggest that Galwegians could edge this encounter with a superior scoring tally and fewer points conceded. However local derbies are traditionally unpredictable between these two sides and it was Buccaneers who prevailed in their earlier league encounter, winning 15 - 8 at Dubarry Park.
As a result Buccaneers will be targeting this fixture for a vital win to lift them off the bottom and leapfrog Ballynahinch, and they will be looking to player/coach Colm Rigney and the experienced Alex Hayman to lead the way. In the backs Buccaneers possess some young talent in Paul Harte, Adam Kennedy, and Billy Henshaw with the more experienced Connacht winger Brian Tuohy a key figure. With a doubt over Aidan Wynne for Connacht, Tuohy may be needed to travel to Madrid, while Kieran Campbell will be Galwegians’ only Connacht player.
Galwegians boast a settled pack led by Ivan Muldoon and a strong back row featuring Ati Olive and Ambrose Conboy. Their set piece has been strong this season and they will needed to play with an intensity to match Buccaneers’ hunger, which could be a decisive factor in this contest.
Connemara are away from home for the second weekend on the trot when they travel to Portadown, having lost to Suttonians last weekend, while in the AIB Junior Cup semi-final City of Derry put paid to Monivea's hopes of becoming the first Connacht club to contest the final with a 26 - 11 win at Judges Road.