Corinthians confident after opening day win

Galwegians’ prop Jamie Stephens on the charge against Ballynahinch on Saturday.				Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

Galwegians’ prop Jamie Stephens on the charge against Ballynahinch on Saturday. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

After an opening day win, Corinthians are back at Cloonacauneen for their first home Ulster Bank League fixture when they entertain City of Derry on Saturday (2.30pm ).

They will be confident after opening their campaign with a hard-fought win over a gritty Midleton outfit in Co Cork last weekend.

Ahead by just two points deep in injury time, Corinthians conceded a penalty that, if converted, could have ensured the home side snatched the victory. However Peter Brougham’s effort sailed wide to ensure the Galway city side collected the vital away points.

The visitors had started brightly with a penalty after five minutes which outhalf Conor Murphy converted for a 3 - 0 lead. However neither side was able to gain the upper hand in the next 30 minutes until Midleton were penalised again after flanker Glen Deacon was caught off side, and Murphy added the 15 metre penalty.

Just before the break the Corinthian front row were judged to have collapsed the scrum, and home side outhalf Peter Brougham had no problem in converting the ensuing penalty, leaving three points between the sides at half time.

Midleton upped the tempo in the second half, opting to spread the ball wide at every opportunity. They were rewarded when winger Danny May grabbed a try in the corner, and Brougham added the extras to give the home side a 10 - 6 lead.

Although Corinthian’s pack gained another penalty which Murphy slotted, Brougham replied to maintain the four-point lead.

Corinthians, however, led by forwards Gary Ward and Pat Cunningham, utilised their wealth of experience up front to gain a foothold. Eventually they were rewarded with a penalty after their hard-working front row pushed Midleton off their own ball in the scrum, and Murphy converted to leave just a point between the sides.

The Cloonacauneen outfit maintained their pressure late into the game with Murphy slotting his fourth penalty after another transgression at the breakdown. That gave the Galway side a two point lead, but Midleton, who had proved a tough outfit to break down, claimed one last chance to take the spoils. On this occasion, Brougham, who had enjoyed a perfect kicking ratio, missed a penalty well into injury time, ensuring Corinthians claimed a vital away victory.

Corinthians: R Kennedy, D Classens, F Gormley (capt ), B Dixon, W Williams, C Murphy, M Murphy, F Bealham, K O’Byrne (J Merrigan ), D Small (T Toolan ), G Ward (W Parker ), P Cunningham, A Connelly, S Geraty, A Cassonova,

Galwegians suffer opening defeat

In division 1B Galwegians are away to Bruff on Saturday needing to get their Ulster Bank League back on track.

They suffered an unexpected 33-17 loss to Ballynahinch on Saturday and will need to get something from this fixture. Bruff, who lost to Buccaneers, will be determined to make home advantage count, and Galwegians will need to dig deep to prevail.

Last weekend Ballynahinch grabbed a bonus-point win over Galwegians despite losing outhalf James Lash to a first-half red card and lock Chris Napier to a second-half yellow.

The visitors used the wind advantage to grab a 6 - 0 lead after 11 minutes before Galwegians’ superior scrum was rewarded with a penalty try which Tadhg Leader converted. Although Lash added a third successful penalty and centre James Thompson scored their first try, Wegians kept in touch with a Leader penalty to close the gap to 14-10. Crucially just two minutes before the interval centre Stuart Morrow capitalised on a concentration lapse to claim a second try for a 19-10 half-time lead.

Galwegians created second-half chances but it was Ballynahinch who extended the lead when Thompson broke through for his second try before Leader crossed for the home outfit, and converted to keep them in touch at 26-17. However Galwegians gifted the visitors their fourth when winger Robin Harte intercepted near his own line.

Also in division 1B Buccaneers enjoyed a successful start with a 17-11 win over Bruff in Athlone, while in division 2B Connemara edged out Naas in Clifden by 23-20. New league entrants Sligo suffered a narrow 20-21 defeat to Boyne in Sligo. This weekend Buccaneers are away to Ballymena, while in division 2B Connemara and Sligo are away to Boyne and Navan respectively.

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