Galwegians kick-started their All Ireland League campaign with a comprehensive 32-13 win against a much-fancied Old Wesley in their first home division 2a fixture at Crowley Park on Saturday.
After suffering a disappointing opening day defeat away to Ballymena, Galwegians enjoyed the perfect start with an early try. Playing with the first-half breeze, fullback Darragh Leader kicked an early penalty to the corner, and following a number of driving mauls, flanker Dan McCabe barged over with Leader’s conversion putting the home side 7-0 up.
By the 15th the home side had added a second after debutant Ciaran Gaffney fielded a Garryowen inside his half and counterattacked, before finding scrumhalf Barry Lee who crossed.
The visitors fought their way back into the game with a try at the end of the first quarter after Wegians coughed up what seemed solid scrum ball on their own 5m line, and Wesley scrumhalf Ian Cassidy took full advantage to dive over with winger Barry McLaughlin converting. McLaughlin added a penalty in the 37th minute to narrow the gap before Wegians stage a late first-half rally. Connacht u-20 outhalf Rory Parata was unlucky to have a try ruled out by referee Will O’Connor, but a late Leader penalty edged them15-10 ahead.
Despite facing into the wind, Galwegians went on the attack after the restart and flanker Paul Hackett scored a third try within two minutes. The home side had the visitors on the back foot with some strong defence and, when centre Matt Dever blocked down an attempted clearance, he gathered to score the all-important bonus try. Leader converted to take a 27-10 lead.
Wesley never recovered and Wegians crowned a fine display when substitute scrumhalf Caolin Blade crossed for a fifth try. After a three-week break, Galwegians next fixture is away to Cashel on October 26.
Galwegians XV: D Leader, C Gaffney, J Harimate M Dever, R Moore, R Parata, B Lee, E Rooney, P Hackett, D McCabe, B McClearn, D Nolan, D McHugh, C Muldoon, J East. Subs, C Blade, D Symes, R Fitzgerald, A Ryan, P Griffin.