Galwegians take top spot after bonus-point victory


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Galwegians take top spot after bonus-point victory Galwegians take top spot after bonus-point victory

Galwegians 27

Ballina 18

Jamie Curley at Crowley Park

In a dramatic weekend of fixtures in AIL Division 2C, Galwegians moved top of the league standings with a victory in the Connacht derby, beating Ballina 27-18 in the final game before the Christmas break, with previous table-toppers, Clogher Valley, suffering a surprise loss at home to Omagh.

Galwegians’ starting XV saw a significant reshuffling of the pack with six changes from the previous game at Omagh, with a second-row duo of Mike Loughlin and Oisin Halpin returning to action as Hugo Gens came in at the blindside.

International call-ups for regulars Shane Mallon, Hugh Gavin and Finn Tracey required changes for the backs, as Mickey McGiff and Rob Deacy formed a pairing at centre; while Josh Munn got into the matchday squad after some solid performances for the 2nds.

It only took two minutes before Ballina got up and running with an early penalty from Cody Chilcott earning the visitors three points already.

Galwegians delivered the next blow with a try just five minutes later. A well-worked lineout routine from a few metres out was enough to haul themselves over the line for the opening try, with Ryan Smith collecting the plaudits. A superb conversion from Tiarnan Neville gave the Blues a 7-3 lead.

With a strong breeze blowing in the favour of Ballina in the first-half, they worked themselves up the pitch, and after a few phases, second-row Thomas Hannigan got over for Ballina’s opening try of the game, and Chilcott’s conversion made it 10-7 for the visitors.

Galwegians enjoyed some bright spells for the remainder of the first half and should have scored on a few occasions, with two five-metre lineouts and a scrum in front of the posts, but indiscipline and some handling errors scuppered their chances and went into the break with that three-point deficit.

Pictured: Ryan Smith (right), seen here in action with Jack Winters, scored Wegians’ first try.


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