After two unexpected losses, Galwegians found their winning form on Saturday in a tough battle with UL Bohemians in Thomond Park.
The 18-15 win ensures Galwegians remain in pole position in the Ulster Bank League division 1b, but with only one point between themselves and Garryowen, they cannot afford any slip-ups in their bid to achieve promotion.
However Matt Brown will have been delighted with his side's determination against UL Bohs, turning over a half time deficit showing character and discipline. And they will need all of those traits for the next fixture on January 30 when they host Buccaneers in an eagerly awaited Friday night derby under lights at Crowley Park.
Playing with the aid of a stiff first-half breeze last Saturday, Wegians took an early lead with a penalty from fullback John Cleary in the third minute, but when they failed to build on it with an error-ridden display, the hosts, inspired by fullback Mossie Lawler and scrumhalf Craig Miller took the game to Wegians who were missing too many first-time tackles.
Having created two try-scoring opportunities, Bohs were rewarded in the 17th minute with the first try when Munster Academy No 8 Jack O’Donoghue broke from a maul on the 22 and powered his way over the line. Outhalf Shane Airey struck a good conversion for a 7-3 lead.
Wegians, however, were able to gain territorial control, but failed to add points on the board, while UL Bohs went further ahead with a second try. O’Donoghue did the damage before winger Darragh Moroney scampered over the line.
Down 12-3, Wegians carved out a super try with Cleary sending wing Jerome Harrimate clear to touch down near the right, and Cleary's excellent conversion reduced the margin to 12-10 at the break.
Wegians settled better after the break, and although both Cleary and outhalf Aidan Moynihan were off target with penalty attempts, the forwards began to make inroads. Crucially O’Donoghue was yellow-carded, and from the penalty Wegians kicked for touch and after 13 phases were rewarded with a try from prop Doran McHugh, giving Wegians the lead for the first time.
Bohs levelled matters with a 10m penalty before Wegians' pack exerted their control and from a scrum penalty substitute Conor Lowndes converted to retake a slender lead.
Bohs threw everything at Wegians in the final minutes, coming close on several occasions, but resolute defence held out.
Galwegians: J Cleary; M Dever, B Murphy, R Parata, J Harrimate; A Moynihan, B Lee; J Naughton (capt. ), P O’Donnell, D.McHugh; B McClearn, M.Cummins; M Towey, P Hackett, A Ryan. Replacements, C Lowndes, D Clarke, P Finn, C Gavin, C Kyne.