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Galwegians Triumph In Under-17 Final

Galwegians Triumph In Under-17 Final

Sunday afternoon’s All-Ireland Under-17 Cup final was won by Galwegians, who claimed the title for the first time at this grade. They beat Gorey 20-7 in the decider in Naas.


GALWEGIANS 20 GOREY 7, Forenaughts, Naas RFC

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Scorers: Galwegians: Tries: Paul Power, Sean O’Brien; Cons: Ciaran Gaffney 2; Pens: Ciaran Gaffney 2
Gorey: Try: Eddie Earle; Con: James Nolan

After a few close attempts in recent years, Galwegians finally claimed the title of All-Ireland Under-17 champions with a comprehensive and thoroughly deserved win over Leinster Premiership and Plate champions Gorey.

Playing into the teeth of a strong first half breeze, ‘Wegians showed some signs of early nerves but eventually settled into their pattern of play.

They were making light work of facing the elements with another powerful display from their pack paving the way.

Their back row combination were beginning to get on top with captain and Ireland underage international Sean O’Brien leading by example, aided and abetted by flankers Ross Kerrigan and John Martin and an impressive front five unit in front of them.

The Sky Blues had the first chance to take the lead but the stiffening breeze denied out-half Ciaran Gaffney with an early penalty opportunity.

However, they made the vital breakthrough in the 20th minute when some excellent driving play from the forwards gave scrum half Paul Power the chance to dive over for a well-deserved opening try. Gaffney landed the conversion to put the ‘Wegians 7-0 to the good.

Nonetheless, the Wexford youngsters, in their first national final, were undaunted and they threatened at times to take advantage of the elements in their favour, only to meet a stern defensive wall of resistance.

And the Connacht side struck a killer blow right on half-time when Gaffney struck a superb penalty from the 10-metre line against the breeze to make it 10-0 at the break.

Gorey came out all guns blazing in the second half and their pressure was forcing a succession of penalties, which eventually led to the sin-binning of ‘Wegians winger Niall Kane for a deliberate knock on.

However, ‘Wegians showed their worth with a remarkable 10 minutes of play with a man down, during which they scored 10 unanswered points.

Gaffney added a second penalty shortly after the sin-binning when the Sky Blues turned defence into attack, and the defining moment came when skipper O’Brien intercepted a pass and dashed home unopposed to touch down under the posts for a second try.

Gaffney’s conversion made it 20-0, and with the out-half and his half-back colleague Power now in control of the game, the title was all but secured.

Gutsy Gorey did manage a consolation score on the hour mark with a converted try from their inspirational captain Eddie Earle, but it was a case of too little, too late. The final whistle sparked wild celebrations from the Galwegians supporters on the sidelines.

GALWEGIANS: Paddy Kitt; Niall Kane, Paul O’Donnell, Paul Hackett, Niall Grogan; Ciaran Gaffney, Paul Power; Matthew Joyce, Ciaran Gavin, Dan McArdle, Stephen Murray, Patrick Dervan, Ross Kerrigan, John Martin, Sean O’Brien (capt).

Replacements: Dara Byrne, Seosamh Fallon, Eoghan O’Brien, Eoin O’Dwyer, Eoin Hughes, Finn Stoneman, Andrew Butler.

GOREY: Sean O’Connor; Andrew Walsh, Sean Byrne, James Nolan, Jack Cleary; Stephen Duke, Taylor Flannery; James Sinnott, JK Earle, Joe Burns, Josh White, Stephen Gardiner, Conor Hatton, Danny Hughes, Eddie Earle (capt).

Replacements: Richard Deering, James Mulligan, Harry Woods, Rory O’Toole, Robert Harrington, Conor Savage, Alyle Bergin.

Referee: Mark Patton (IRFU)