Galwegians face stern test in All Ireland Cup semi-final

Galwegians, having moved four points clear at the top of the Ulster Bank League division 2a, now face a litmus test against a top division side in the All Ireland Cup campaign.

Galwegians, recently crowned Connacht Senior Cup champions, now face their Leinster counterparts UCD in Belfield on Saturday (2.30pm ), and the clash should provide a real indication of Galwegians’ ability against a division 1A outfit.

The other semi-final sees Munster and defending cup champions Cork Constitution host Queens University.

Galwegians are likely to be missing some players who are expected to be on Connacht Eagles duty on Saturday, and the game will be a much tougher test than last Saturday’s clash with Bruff in the Ulster Bank League when they ran in eight tries for a 48-20 victory.

In this was a top versus bottom league fixture, Bruff were unable to cope with the pace and power of an in-form Blues side at Kilballyowen Park.

Played in crisp conditions, Wegians showed they meant business when they went on the offensive from the start. Outhalf Ross Shaughnessy was off target with an early penalty, but the first try came in the 10th minute when, from a lineout and maul, prop Jason East touched down.

The second try came barely five minutes later when captain Brian McClearn charged down an attempted clearance by Bruff outhalf Declan Bannon near his line, and the towering lock won the race to the ball and touched down just inside the end line. Shaughnessy found his range this time from near the touchline to add the extras and give the Blues a comfortable 12-0 lead.

Bruff responded well and, when they regained possession from the restart, they forced an offside with outhalf Bannon landing the penalty to open their account. However it was brief respite for the hosts as Wegians went back in search for more. After the first quarter they scored try number three- once again provided by a dominant lineout before impressive centre Jerome Harrimate skipped through a soft midfield defence to touch down near the posts. Shaughnessy again converted for a 19-3 lead.

The hosts seemed powerless to cope with Wegians who were superior in every department, adding the bonus fourth try just before the break when hooker Conor Muldoon crossed near the right-hand corner for a 24-3 lead at half time.

Wegians continued the rout, scoring from their first attack after the restart when Ciaran Gaffney, showing excellent pace and awareness, found Colin Conroy in support who finished off. Shaughnessy’s conversion put Wegians out of sight at 31-3.

Bruff, however, showed character and kept plugging away, and were rewarded when wing Cian Tierney crossed near the right.

However the Blues were back up the field when fullback John Cleary scythed through the midfield from outside the 22 metre line to cross before Harrimate claimed the seventh try.

Bruff did score two scores late in the half, but Wegians closed out the game when Gaffney collected Conroy’s cross-field kick to score his first senior try for the Blues.

Galwegians RFC: J Cleary, C Gaffney, C Conroy, J Harrimate, R Moore, R Shaughnessy, B Lee, J Naughton, C Muldoon, J East, A Ryan, B McClearn (cpt ), E Rooney, E Earle, J Dinneen. Replacements, C Blade, M Towey, R Fitzgerald, D McHugh, D Clarke.

 

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