17 Jun, 19:25
Ireland pulled clear of hosts Canada with four tries in the closing half hour as they earned a 40-14 victory at the BMO Stadium on Saturday night. Check out some photos from the Toronto tussle.
Things could only get better after Galwegians finished 14th in Division One last season and they duly got the perfect start to their new campaign when they hit Belfast Harlequins with four tries.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION ONE: Saturday, October 14
GALWEGIANS 29 BELFAST HARLEQUINS 8, Crowley Park
Scorers: Galwegians: Tries: Conor McPhillips 2, Anthony Barrett, Ross Davies; Cons: Paddy O'Toole 3; Pen: Wakley
Harlequins: Try: Gavin McLaughlin; Pen: Niall O'Connor
Connacht winger Conor McPhillips touched down twice as Galwegians surprised Harlequins with a 29-8 defeat at Crowley Park.
'Wegians, who had conceded 149 points to 'Quins in their previous three league meetings, came firing out of the traps to go 24-0 up at the break.
Centre Nick Wakley made two tries - one for the lively McPhillips and another for prop Ross Davies - and saw his midfield partner Anthony Barrett steal a loose pass from 'Quins out-half Niall O'Connor for a third.
'Quins did bite back early in the second half when wide man Gavin McLaughlin scored and O'Connor notched a 47th-minute penalty, but McPhillips' second try followed in a victory which has 'Wegians in a five-way tie at the top of table.
It really was the result of the weekend at Glenina as 'Wegians, who were fortunate to avoid relegation, grabbed a deserved win over Andy Ward's much-vaunted 'Quins side.
The fact that 'Wegians' Welsh-born coach Paul Young fielded nine newcomers, made what occurred all the more significant. Coupled with memories of 'Quins' 68-10 demolition of Young's men last January, it was an astonishing turnaround.
'Quins badly underestimated their opponents and it did not help that Ireland Under-19 international O'Connor had a particularly bad day at the office for the visitors. The 'Wegians back row unit of captain Ambrose Conboy, Connacht's Brendan O'Connor and provincial Under-20 player Aaron McGettigan were simply superb.
Wakley stroked over an eighth-minute penalty and made the initial incision for McPhillips to cross the whitewash on 18 minutes.
Returning number 10 Paddy O'Toole, back from a stint with Blackrock, converted and just seconds after the restart, the luckless O'Connor was intercepted in midfield and Barrett raced in with O'Toole again converting.
Ward's headache worsened when the men from the west went 24-0 up before the break - another Wakley-inspired move ended with Davies plunging in under the posts.
'Quins did up the tempo in the second half when McLaughlin spun in at the corner and O'Connor notched a penalty penalty - his first success from three shots. But 'Wegians were just too good on the day and McPhillips carved through, in the final quarter, for his second try and his side's bonus point score.
Quins will look to bounce back at home to Terenure College in a fortnight's time.
Galwegians: D Slemen; K Hickman, A Barrett, N Wakley, C McPhillips; P O'Toole, L Stringer; D O'Connell, C Muldoon, R Davies, D Boyd, A Browne, B O'Connor, A McGettigan, A Conboy.
Subs used: P Durcan for Slemen, L Scahill for Boyd, D O'Brien for Davies.
Belfast Harlequins: M Kettyle; G McLaughlin, J Reihana, K Pyper, P McKenzie; N O'Connor, P Marshall; N Conlon, S Philpott, B Lynch, G Rourke, G Jewhurst, A Gillespie, R Devonshire, C McCarey.
Subs used: J Lowe for Reihana, C Keown for Lynch.
Referee: George Clancy (Munster)