NUIG promoted after league final win

NUI Galway rugby XV celebrate victory and promotion in this year’s Connacht J1C league decider over Sligo at the weekend.

NUI Galway rugby XV celebrate victory and promotion in this year’s Connacht J1C league decider over Sligo at the weekend.

Two converted tries both sides of half time were enough to see NUIG prevail by 14 - 5 over Sligo in the Connacht J1C league decider at a windswept and and rain-soaked Hamilton Park, Strandhill, on Sunday.

Sligo were installed as favourites going into this final, having won the last two encounters between the sides, but the conditions meant whichever team dealt best with the elements would have a significant advantage.

While Sligo edged the set piece, College's maul and organised phase play in the loose gave the students a decisive edge over the 80 minutes.

College's breakthrough came just before half time after great work from the pack. Outhalf Mark Comerford put centre Billy Delaney through for a superbly worked team score, and despite the cross wind, Comerford struck the conversion perfectly.

§rThe decisive score for NUIG came after the break, again after great work from the pack, which was expertly marshalled by scrumhalf Jack O'Callaghan. Sustained College pressure eventually yielded the try, with impressive lock Peter Claffey forcing his way over. Tony Hall, who replaced Comerford on 50 minutes, slotted the difficult conversion.

While College 8 Gearoid Crowe was named man of the match, it was a memorable day for NUIG, team captain Darragh O'Loughlin, and the coaching team of Pete Small, Barry Kilroy, Bartley Fannin and Tom O'Regan.

NUIG XV: S Faulkner, N Wilcox, C O'Neill, E Casserly, P Claffey, D O'Loughlin (cpt ), R Stanley, G Crowe, J O'Callaghan, M Comerford, J Whooley, B Delaney, M Sale, J Kennedy, R Kehoe-Clarke. Subs, K Harty, J Dunne, M Davey, R Conneely, T Hall.

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