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Late Drop Goal Decides Connacht Derby

Late Drop Goal Decides Connacht Derby

Galwegians ended their two-match losing streak in AIB League Division 1B in dramatic fashion as a late drop goal from centre Dave Clarke saw the hosts prevail at Crowley Park.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, January 23

GALWEGIANS 12 BUCCANEERS 11, Crowley Park

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Scorers: Galwegians: Pens: Rob O’Beirn 3; Drop: Dave Clarke
Buccaneers: Try: Conor Lavelle; Pens: JH Potgieter, Adam Kennedy

Buccaneers, sitting bottom of the table, looked set to claim a hard-fought Connacht derby win on Saturday afternoon, before Galwegians centre Dave Clarke stepped up to break their hearts in the fourth minute of injury-time.

This match could have gone either way but in the end, Mayo man Clarke took the victory from Buccaneers’ grasp with a well-struck drop from 35 metres out.

In the 80th minute, Buccs number 9 Adam Kennedy thought he had won it for his side. ‘Wegians conceded a close range penalty and Kennedy landed the kick for a 11-9 lead.

But Galwegians got back within scoring range in the dying seconds and Clarke delivered the knockout blow.

Buccaneers were 8-6 ahead at half-time and should have had a bigger lead, given their dominance of possession and territory.

South African out-half JH Potgieter kicked them in front in the 12th minute and full-back Conor Lavelle touched down, coming up to the half hour mark.

Lavelle finished off a flowing back-line move for an unconverted score, but two penalties from full-back Rob O’Beirn got ‘Wegians off the mark before the interval.

The Galway side made a strong start to the second half and when O’Beirn landed his third penalty, after Buccs back rower Kolo Kiripati had been sin-binned for a shoulder charge, a home win seemed odds on.

But ‘Wegians never built on that early promise and with the pendulum swinging around again, Buccs enjoyed a dominant spell in the final quarter.

They were camped deep in ‘Wegians’ territory for most of the final quarter-hour. Winger John O’Brien was held up over the try-line and the Athlone men had a number of other good chances.

In heavy fog, Potgieter had a drop goal attempt charged down and that failure to convert pressure into points came back to haunt Buccs at the death.