Galwegians return to Dublin on Saturday for a tricky assignment against Ulster Bank League title contenders Lansdowne at the Aviva back pitch.
The Galway club produced an impressive win in Crowley Park against the Dubliners in October, but will face a more difficult challenge to their hopes of a completing a memorable double.
However they head to the capital with a more confident approach, having produced produced one of their best performances of the seasonwhen overcoming play-off contenders Garryowen by 30-17 at Crowley Park on Saturday,.
Galwegians had control of this fixture at the break, ahead by 22-10. They opened with an 11th minute try when centre Api Pewhairangi's break set up No 8 Anthony Ryan to cross. The Limerick outfit, boasting a dominant scrum, capitalised with an opening penalty from scrumhalf Neil Cronin, but a costly knock-on from the restart provided Galwegians with an attacking platform, and winger John Cleary finished in the right-corner, with Shane O’Leary adding the conversion for a 12-3 lead.
Wegians, dominant in every area but the scrum, bagged a third try when hooker Jack Dinneen powered over from the 22-metre line. O'Leary converted and also landed a drop goal to give his side a commanding 22-3 lead. However, when they failed to deal with a speculative up and under, Garryowen broke down the right before outhalf O'Byrne dived over. Cronin's conversion reduced the half-time deficit to 22-10.
Replacement prop Jason East helped steady the scrum after the break, while excellent kicking from hand by O’Leary ensured the home side continued to dominate territory, but without adding to their scoring tally. Instead Garryowen worked their way back into the contest, and from a penalty to touch, Aaron McCloskey set up a driving maul with Connacht prop JP Cooney touching down on 60 minutes. Cronin landed the conversion, to close the gap to 22-17.
Wegians regained the initiative when they grabbed their bonus point try within five minutes through Cleary, who finished off a tremendous break by Adam Leavy to dive over near the left-corner flag. O'Leary missed the difficult kick but put further daylight between the sides with a second drop-goal in the 74th minute.
Galwegians XV: C Gaffney; J Cleary; A Phewhairangi, B Murphy, A Leavy; S O’Leary, B Lee; J Naughton (capt ), J Dinneen, D McHugh; M Cummins, D Nolan; M Towey, P Hackett, A Ryan. Subs: J East, J Anaya, R Moore, A Moynihan, A McMahon.