Late heartbreak for Wegians

Galwegians will be looking to bounce back after suffering their first loss of the Ulster Bank League when Ballymena grabbed pole position of division 1b lost with a last-gasp penalty at Crowley Park on Saturday.

Played in poor conditions, both sides struggled to gain an early foothold, but after Galwegians missed an early penalty effort, the visitors began to assert themselves and were rewarded with a try from centre Paddy James in the 31st minute. Outhalf Ritchie McMaster landed the touchline conversion and a penalty when Wegians prop Paul McCreanor was yellow-carded for a creaking scrum to lead 10-0.

However Wegians scored a try on each side of the break to haul themselves back. Prop Doran McHugh finished a well-worked maul to dive over for a try and a minute later Wegian fullback John Cleary latched on to his own clearance Garryowen near halfway, racing in for a second try.

Although McMaster restored Ballymena’s lead with a penalty, Galwegians, from a second penalty to touch, grabbed a third try from veteran lock Brian McClearn, putting the hosts in front for the first time. Winger Colin Conroy grabbed the bonus point try when from an intercept on his own 10m line, he raced clear, outwitting his marker, to cross under the posts. Cleary landed the conversion to put the Blues 22-13 ahead.

However with time running out Ballymena were awarded a penalty try with replacement Tim Small converting, and in the last play of the game, the visitors won another scrum penalty and Small landed the excellent penalty to seal a dramatic victory.

Galwegians: J Cleary; C Conroy, B Murphy, G O’Brien, J Harrimate; D Clarke, B Lee; P MacCreanor, J Dinneen, D McHugh; B.McClearn, M.Cummins; M Towey, P Hackett, A Ryan. Replacements: P O’Donnell, K Kyne, M Dever, R Shaughnessy, R Moore.

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