Galwegians First XV face a difficult assignment on Saturday when they host first division outfit St Mary’s in the Bateman Cup (2.30pm ).
The All Ireland Bateman Cup pits the four provincial cup winners against each other, with Galwegians advancing to Saturday’s semi-final after retaining the Connacht Senior Cup with a 31-15 win over local rivals Corinthians.
St Mary’s, who are the current Ulster Bank League champions defeated Lansdowne for thier place in the semi-finals, while last year’s beaten finalists Ballymena face Cork Constitution.
In other action from Crowley Park, Galwegians Second XV made an impressive start to the defence of their Connacht Junior Cup title when they defeated a fancied Tuam side away in the first round on Sunday by 25 - 3.
The hosts currently lie in third place in the Connacht Junior League behind Monivea and Ballina, and they took an early lead through a Jamie Murphy penalty. However Wegians levelled soon after when Dave Clarke landed his first successful penalty after an earlier attempt hit the post.
There were some big hits going in as both sides tried to move the ball in an entertaining first half, but Wegians began to gain the ascendancy. The turning point came just before the break when Tuam scrumhalf Rob Kavanagh was sin-binned following sustained Galwegian pressure. And the visitors certainly made them pay, Another Clarke penalty was followed by the game’s first try on the stroke of half time, when an excellent break from outhalf Ross Shaughnessy was finished in style by centre Dave Symes for an 11-3 lead.
Wegians landed the knock-out blow on 50 minutes when No 8 Kris O’Shea scored from a pushover try, with Clarke’s conversion giving them a comfortable 18-3 lead.
Tuam tried everything, but were unable to unlock the disciplined Wegian defence. The cup holders wrapped up in style in the final 10 minutes when an audacious break by highly-promising prop Paul Griffin set up lock forward Eoin Tarmey who dived over for a third and decisive try. This ensured that Wegians completed a hat-trick of victories over Tuam this season, and retained the Lesley Callow Memorial Cup.
AIL U-21 SW Conference
Galwegians u-21s produced a powerful second-half performance to secure a memorable win away to Garryowen in the u-21 SW Conference at a bitterly cold Dooradoyle on Saturday.
Things looked bleak early on for Wegians when Garroywen scrumhalf Geoff Ryan touched down after eight minutes, with the visitors struggling to get into the pace of the game.
A15th minute Conor O’Rourke penalty opened the Blues’ account, but Garryowen continued to dominate. That they failed to score was testament to a disciplined Wegians’ defence, although a penalty from outhalf Rory Collins restored their five-point lead in the 35th minute.
The turning point came when Wegians levelled the game just before half-time. Great work from the pack enabled Dave Quill to release Paul Power to score in the corner.
Wegians then took over. Although the loss of two Garryowen props resulted in uncontested scrums, intense Wegians pressure and territory had the Limerickmen defending desperately close to their line for long spells. Wegians finally made the vital breakthrough when, from an overlap, O’Rourke sent centre Dave Symes over the line for the winning try.
The win keeps the Blues in the top six of a highly competitive league involving the top Munster teams as well as Buccaneers and NUIG-Corinthians.
Wegians Women secured a highly impressive 40-5 win away to Blackrock in the Women’s AIL on Sunday.
Heineken Junior Cup, Corrib 3 Creggs 19; Loughrea 19 Gort 20; Corinthians 52 Dunmore 10; Ballina 7 Monivea 13; Tuam 3,Galwegians 25; Buccaneers 0 OLBC 36; Westport 25 Ballinasloe 21; UCG 3 Sligo 6; Junior 2,Buccaneers 20 Ballinasloe 0; U-14 B, Claremorris 43 Connemara 31.