Corinthians looking to take advantage of home comforts


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Corinthians looking to take advantage of home comforts Corinthians looking to take advantage of home comforts

By John Mulligan

Corinthians will hope that home advantage proves to be their friend at the second time of asking in the league play-offs when they host Wanderers tomorrow in the AIL Division 2B promotion play-off in Cloonacauneen (2.30pm).

The Galway side were beaten at the same stage of last year’s competition, losing the divisional semifinal 16-12 at home to Dungannon, but they dusted themselves down for a new promotion push, and while their title challenge came up just short, another second-place finish in th league has handed them another home play-off semi-final.

The season has been a long one for Michael Harding’s men starting with a ten-point win over tomorrow’s opponents in Corinthians Park back in September, followed by what would be a vital bonus point loss to Instonians. Wins over Malahide and Dolphin followed and as November came and went, the team were in a strong position following further wins over Belfast Harlequins and Skerries.

The momentum was carried to the end of the year as they won all games including their last game of 2023 against Sligo. Repeating the result in their first game of 2024 as the reverse fixtures came into play. However, injuries had taken their toll and defeats to Rainey and Skerries, the latter being played on the 4G in Creggs, saw them drop from second to third and from there, were involved in a battle as the race for the playoffs truly took off.

A crucial away win away from home in Belfast was followed by a one-point win over Dolphin, which guaranteed a place in the semi-finals but also showed that there was work to be done as Dolphin scored four tries from mauls.

With three games left in the league, a home semi-final looked a tall order as they would have to face the teams above them in two of those games. A two-point win over a Malahide side fighting against relegation was important but it was what followed next that has given massive belief to this team and for good reason.

The first was a home game against an Instonians team who were almost unbeatable all season. Corinthians bucked that trend with a fantastic two-point win in Corinthian Park. Ironically, both clubs were celebrating at the full-time whistle as the losing bonus point was enough for Instonians to be crowned champions.

What it also meant was that after 17 league games, it would boil down to 80 minutes of rugby to determine who would have home advantage in a semi-final against the same opposition as Corinthians and Wanderers faced-off on the gfinal weekend of ther regular season.

Pictured: Micheal O’Reilly shows his speed to skip past the cover in Corinthians’ win over Instonians. Photos: Joanne Glynn Cullen.

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