Corinthians look to enhance strong league start

Galwegians No 8 Richie Dodd fends off the Dungannon defence in action from the AIL division one clash at Crowley Park on Saturday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Galwegians No 8 Richie Dodd fends off the Dungannon defence in action from the AIL division one clash at Crowley Park on Saturday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Galwegians face another tough away fixture on Saturday against Ulster’s Ballymena in the third AIB League division one encounter.

Galwegians will certainly have been boosted with their victory over Dungannon last weekend, but a Ballymena side on home soil will be a different proposition.

Like Galwegians, Ballymena have recorded one win from their two fixtures - a home win over Young Munster 21 - 10, and a loss to St Mary’s last weekend by 31 - 10. They will be favourites to take the points on Saturday, but Galwegians will need to get something from this match to maintain their momentum for a top eight position.

Corinthians are also facing Ulster oppostion in division three when Rainey Old Boys from Magherafelt travel to Cloonacauneen this weekend. Rainey had a strong start to the AIL with a good win over last year’s third placed team Banbridge, but they were well beaten last week by early promotion favourites Midleton. With new signings South African second row Willem Jacobson and South African centre Rhys Botha (player /coach ) both available, Rainey will be looking to bounce back. With a strong tight five and the experienced and accurate Glancy at outhalf, they have the ability to test any division 3 team.

Corinthians, however, will be looking for a much improved performance after a narrow win up north to Ards. Pat Cunningham and his team will need greater accuracy and commitment if they want to keep their 100 per cent record intact. The game kicks off in Corinthians on Saturday at 2:30.

Also in division three Connemara host Dublin side Suttonians. The Clifden-based All Blacks enjoyed a great win over Barnhall last week, recording a 26 - 5 victory away, and they will need to make home advantage count against an in-form Suttonians who have recorded two wins from two.

Galwegians 27

Dungannon 21

Galwegians won a crucial home fixture after an entertaining encounter at Crowley Park on Saturday when they outscored their northern visitors by four tries to two to claim all five points on offer.

The hosts took the lead in the very first minute when winger Brian Murphy scored a try in the left-corner. And although John McGuckin soon responded with a penalty for Dungannon, the hosts looked to be out of sight early on when another two well-worked tries from lock Liam Scahill and centre Chris Briegl put them 17-3 in front.

However an intercept try from Dungannon flanker Derek Hall on the half-hour and a well-struck drop-goal from replacement outhalf James Shiells reduced arrears to 17-11 at half-time.

Wegians resisted some early Dungannon pressure after the re-start to maintain their lead, and they secured the bonus point courtesy of a converted scrum pushover try on 54 minutes by Liam Casserly. The visitors, however, never gave up, and a converted try under the posts from captain Michael Rainey on the hour mark kept them in touch.

A 65th minute penalty from Wegians’ impressive young fullback Robert O’Beirne put them nine points clear, but another injury-time penalty from McGuckin gave Dungannon a deserved bonus point.

Galwegians: R O’Beirne; J Cleary (C O’Beirne ), C Briegl, C Rodgers, B Murphy; M Brandon, B Draper (T Ellard ); J Lyne, C Muldoon (A O’Sullivan ), B McGovern (J Stephens ); L Scahill, D Nolan; L Casserly ( B McClearn ) , I Muldoon (cpt ), R Dodd.

Ards 13

Corinthians 21

Corinthians continued their opening day form in the AIB League division three when they beat Ards on Saturday to remain one of five unbeaten teams.

The game proved a scappy affair and as a result Corinthians struggled to settle, although they looked more threatening in attack in the first half.

Centre James Buckley gave them a 7-0 lead after about 30 minutes from an intercept, but they failed to add to their first-half tally, giving too much first phase possession to Ards, who were able to dominate field position but were unable to convert this into points.

The beginning of the second half belonged to Ards and an early try after a sustained attack took the score to 13-13.

After this Corinthians began to get back into the game and were rewarded with a penalty with about 15 minutes left on the clock. The successful kick relieved the pressure and Corinthians dominated the last quarter. After a good passage of play, winger Darin Claasens scored in the corner with only a few minutes left on the clock to seal a second successive win for Corinthians.

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