Galwegians made a serious assault on the Ulster Bank Division 2a table when they blew away highly-fancied Queens University by 28 - 0 at Crowley Park on Saturday.
The Belfast visitors came into this game after an impressive start to their season, but at the end of the contest it is Wegians who commanded third place, sending the students tumbling.
The dominance of the powerful Wegian pack led to the opening score of the game in the 13th minute when flanker Eddie Earle crossed the line from a rolling maul instigated by Brian McClearn’s line-out take.
Queens had a chance to get back into the game from a five-metre lineout immediately after the restart, but the students could not make any inroads against a resolute Blues’ defence. The hosts then went on to dominate the remainder of the opening half with their formidable scrum causing the visitors all sorts of problems.
Another scrum penalty allowed outhalf Ross Shaughnessy to extend the lead to 8-0 on 27 minutes, and five minutes later the Blues scored their second try following a blockdown by skipper McClearn. Scrumhalf Barry Lee’s sniping run from the back of the scrum secured the five-pointer.
McMaster missed another late penalty effort to leave it 13-0, and after the restart Wegians continued to dominate with a Shaughnessy penalty stretching their advantage to 16-0 on 50 minutes.
With a comfortable lead, the home side began to play more expansive rugby, and five minutes later they were rewarded with the try of the game. It owed much to the deft running and handling of centre Jerome Harrimate, who combined with winger Colin Conroy to send fullback John Cleary clear for the third try, which Shaughnessy converted. The fourth try arrived in the 65th minute, and not surprisingly it came from another powerful scrum with replacement scrumhalf Caolin Blade darting over to seal the bonus point.
The win ensures Wegians are now four points off unbeaten Ballymena and will need to maintain their momentum when they resume in three weeks at home to bottom-of-the-table Highfield.
Galwegians: J Cleary, C Conroy, J Harrimate, B Murphy, R Moore, R Shaughnessy, B Lee, J Naughton, R Fitzgerald, D McHugh, D Nolan, B McClearn, E Rooney, E Earle, D McCabe. Replacements, C Blade, M Dever, S O’Brien, C Muldoon, J East.