Wegians frustrated

Galwegians moved up one place in the Ulster Bank League division 1B table, but they are still hovering just three points clear of the relegation zone despite a 27 - 22 bonus-point loss to promotion hopefuls Ballymena on Saturday.

Now they head north again to face Dungannon on Saturday - the third Ulster opposition in succession with high hopes of creating further distance between themselves and the relegation pack.

Dungannon sit just one place above Galwegians on the league ladder, but they boast a nine-point advantage. They will prove every bit as difficult to break down as Ballymena proved last weekend in the annual Des Dempsey Memorial Cup fixture at Crowley Park.

Although Galwegians were superior for much of the contest, and looked to have done enough to claim a share of the spoils, they were denied by a late injury-time try in a dramatic final period.

Ballymena had caught Galwegians napping in the opening minute when winger Caolann Fitzpatrick grabbed a soft opening try, which Luke Marshall converted, but the home side, despite missing their influential captain John Cleary and Ivan Muldoon responded. Fullback Tadhg Leader instigated his side’s first try which scrumhalf Dave Moore finished off, and Matt Jarvis converted to level matters by the 10th minute.

Dominant up front in particular, Galwegians were rewarded on 25 minutes when No 8 Dermot Murphy claimed the touchdown, but Jarvis’ conversion was controversially judged wide.

Leading by 12-7, Wegians failed to build on their lead, despite lording both possession and territory. And they paid dearly when Ulster centre Ali Frazer grabbed an equalising try in their first attack of the half.

Level 12 apiece entering the final quarter, Wegians were increasingly penalised by referee Beggs at the breakdown. It resulted in a try for Ballymena fullback Roger McBurney on 70 minutes, with Marshall adding the extras and a penalty to stretch their lead to 10 points.

However the Blues again responded. Jarvis landed an excellent penalty and from the restart a rejuvenated Blues again went upfield, with winger Matthew Dever diving over near the left-hand corner for a superb try. Jarvis struck a perfect conversion to level the match once again.

Yet in a cruel final twist for Wegians and well into injury time, the visitors turned over ball and pounced down the blindside allowing substitute John Andrew scamper over for the winning try, and bagging a bonus point to boot.

Galwegians: T Leader; C Conroy, B Murphy, D Clarke, B Lee; M Jarvis: J East, C Muldoon, J Stephens; O Tarmey, B McClearn (capt ); D O’Hara, R Fitzgerald, D Murphy. Subs: J Naughton, P Griffin, C O’Connell, R Shaughnessy, M Dever.

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