Munster’s Kiwi back rower Nick Williams played a central role as Dolphin qualified for their first ever AIB Cup semi-final at Musgrave Park on Sunday afternoon.
AIB CUP QUARTER-FINAL: Sunday, November 29
DOLPHIN 24 GALWEGIANS 10, Musgrave Park
Scorers: Dolphin: Tries: Barry O’Mahony, Niall O’Driscoll, Nick Williams; Cons: Barry Keeshan 3; Pen: Barry Keeshan
Galwegians: Try: Ronan Loughney; Con: Dave Clarke; Pen: Dave Clarke
For this refixed game, Galwegians had a very strong wind behind them for the first half but never used it to its full advantage.
Dolphin struck for the game’s opening score on 27 minutes when a ‘Wegians kick failed to find touch, home centre Eric Moloney ran the ball back and Nick Williams took it on before his back row colleague Barry O’Mahony breached the line.
Dolphin captain Barry Keeshan added the conversion but ‘Wegians, despite losing captain Ivan Muldoon to the sin-bin, closed the gap to 7-3 for half-time with a penalty from centre Dave Clarke.
However, the Corkmen took a firm hold of proceedings early in the second half when Keeshan landed a penalty and winger Niall O’Driscoll scampered over for a converted try.
Paul Hurley started the move, coming off his left wing and brilliantly making ground into the visitors’ 22. He passed to Williams who put in a huge hand-off before linking with O’Mahony and the ball eventually found its way to O’Driscoll who beat the cover from close range.
Dolphin really should have put the result beyond any doubt after that but they failed to turn pressure into points and Galwegians closed the gap to 17-10 with a late try, following a yellow card for Dolphin flanker George Finn.
Replacement prop Ronan Loughney crashed over on 75 minutes, with Clarke’s conversion putting just a converted try between the sides.
‘Wegians, who had Connacht duo Kieran Campbell and Liam Bibo in their back-line, had gone close to scoring a try before then. Full-back Bibo was clean through only to be called back for a forward pass.
But the dust had barely settled on Loughney’s score when Dolphin engineered an immediate response.
The powerfully-built Williams drove over for the clinching try, which Keeshan converted, to set up a home semi-final against previous cup winners Garryowen on December 19.
DOLPHIN: D McCarthy; N O’Driscoll, E Moloney, K Lynch, P Hurley; B Keeshan (capt), S Cronin; R O’Neill, A O’Driscoll, C Condon, C Rowe, F Rowe, G Finn, B O’Mahony, N Williams.
Replacements used: T O’Callaghan for A O’Driscoll (52 mins, inj), M Purcell for Moloney (64), D Nathan for O’Mahony, A Foley for Condon, R Allen for Finn (all 78).
GALWEGIANS: L Bibo; M Butler, A Esera, D Clarke, J Cleary; R Shaughnessy, K Campbell; J Naughton, C Muldoon, J Stephens, L Scahill, B McClearn, A. Conboy, I Muldoon, A Olive.
Replacements used: R O’Beirne for Butler (33 mins, inj), R Loughney for Stephens (53), D Boyd for Conboy (66), J Moran for Scahill (74).
Referee: John Carvill (IRFU)