Galwegians posted their first AIB League win under new coach Kevin Tierney, courtesy of a fiery display against Dungannon at Crowley Park on Saturday.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION ONE: Saturday, October 11
GALWEGIANS 27 DUNGANNON 21, Crowley Park
Scorers: Galwegians: Tries: Brian Murphy, David Nolan, Chris Briegl, Liam Casserly; Cons: Matt Brandon, Robert O’Beirne; Pen: Robert O’Beirne
Dungannon: Tries: Derek Hall, Michael Rainey; Con: John McGuckin; Pens: John McGuckin 2; Drop: James Shiells
In a very entertaining clash, ‘Wegians scored three tries in the opening 26 minutes at Crowley Park.
Right from the kick-off, the westerners showed their intent. After a couple of phases, winger Brian Murphy scooted over for an unconverted try in the left corner, beating Mark Fyffe and James Bates.
John McGuckin, kicking in the injury-enforced absence of Richard McCarter, booted a penalty in response, before ‘Wegians scored two tries in quick succession.
Experienced winger John Cleary made serious ground before he put lock David Nolan through for a 20th-minute try.
Six minutes later, a lineout ball was splayed across the back-line and South African Chris Briegl, a former Ballymena player, sliced through the ‘Gannon defence to score.
Matt Brandon tagged on one conversion for a 17-3 lead for the home side.
Stung into action, Dungannon pounced for an intercept try on 30 minutes. Flanker Derek Hall claimed a loose pass and had the gas to run over from halfway for his second try in seven days.
McGuckin missed the conversion but replacement James Shiells notched a huge drop goal in the dying minutes of the half, to close the gap to 17-11.
The second half saw full-back Robert O’Beirne and out-half Brandon continue to kick well for ‘Wegians, who worked back rower Liam Casserly over for their bonus point try.
In the 54th minute, the hosts mounted a pushover drive and Casserly emerged with the ball. O’Beirne converted.
Dungannon upped the tempo off the restart and made a real game of it, reducing the arrears to 24-18 with a try from Michael Rainey.
Team captain Rainey was adjudged to have grounded the ball off second phase ball, following a five-metre scrum.
Into the final quarter, O’Beirne bisected the posts with a relieving penalty for ‘Wegians and with time running out, the Tyrone men had to settle for a losing bonus point – McGuckin did the necessary with a late penalty.