Galwegians gave their survival prospects in Ulster Bank League division 1b an enormous boost when, for the second game in succession, they secured maximum points against student opposition.
This vital bonus point win now puts Wegians a crucial five points clear of second from bottom UCD, and with a game in hand.
However next up for the Blues is another away trip to Munster where they face promotion-chasing UL Bohemians at Thomond Park.
Bohs currently sit one place behind second-placed Ballynahinch, but both are on the same points. As a result the Limerick outfit will be in no mood to relinquish their hold on a promotion place. Galwegians ground out a two-point win over Bohs at Crowley Park in early January, and they will need to dig deep again if they are to distance themselves from the relegation zone.
Three weeks ago they did a demolition job on UCD in Crowley Park, and last Saturday it was the turn of UCC to suffer at the hands of the dominant Blues at the Mardyke.
The foundations for this 35 - 20 win were once again laid in the Galwegians pack, and they set the tone early. By the end of the first quarter the visitors were well on top, courtesy of two well-taken tries scored by centre Colin Conroy, his second coming on the back of a superb break by his in-form centre partner Brian Murphy. Outhalf Tadhg Leader added one conversion and a penalty, with UCC’s Pat Parfrey responding with a penalty.
The students’ showed their threat on occasion, underlying the need for the visitors to keep their defensive shape intact. But the Blues landed a killer blow in the 35th minute when captain and lock forward Brian McClearn crossed for his third try of the season. Although Leader was wide with the conversion attempt, the Blues were 20-3 in front at the break.
Leader added his second penalty shortly after the restart to stretch their advantage to 23-3. However, despite their supremacy on the scoreboard, the Blues were not entirely convincing in all aspects of their game, and they soon became complacent as they lost their focus. The students to their credit never gave up the chase, and they soon crossed the whitewash when winger Joe Holland went over for their first try. Minutes later UCC caught the Blues’ defence napping again when they scored a second try, with hooker Wayne Falvey claiming the touchdown on this occasion. This put the hosts right back into the game, with Parfrey converting one of the tries to reduce arrears to just 23-15.
However the Blues steadied the ship and regained control, making the game safe when they bagged the crucial bonus point try on the hour mark. It came when blindside flanker Isaac O’Grady got on the end of a move to score, with Leader’s conversion making it double scores at 30-15. The visitors pressed home their advantage when promising winger Matthew Dever scored a fifth try.
The win capped a great weekend for the Blues with the u-14s winning the Connacht Cup in a 22-17 thriller against Ballina, while Galwegians Women’s XV are into the All Ireland final on Saturday after beating Tralee 11-7.
Galwegians: J Loxton;M Dever, C Conroy, B Murphy, P Finn; T Leader, D Moore; J Naughton, C Muldoon, J East; O Tarmey, B McClearn (capt. ); I O’Grady, I Muldoon, D Murphy.