Galwegians retained the Connacht Senior League trophy when they won out in emphatic style (38-11) against city rivals Corinthians at Cloonacauneen last Saturday, running in five tries in the process.
Playing with the aid of a stiff first half breeze, Galwegians went on the offensive right from the start, and early dominance in the scrum had the home pack in all sorts of trouble.
The pressure soon told and flanker Eoin Tarmey dived over from the base of a ruck for the game’s opening try, which was converted by out-half Ross Shaughnessy.
Hosts Corinthians slowly worked their way into the game and opened their account with a 15th minute penalty from Philip Maher, however this was soon cancelled out by a penalty from Shaughnessy to restore a seven-point advantage.
Despite dominating matters, ‘Wegians were making hard work of their wind advantage and were getting on the wrong side of the referee at the breakdown and the offside line. They were punished by the home side who added a second Maher penalty after the half hour mark for not rolling away.
At this stage a four-point lead was poor value for the Blues, and they needed a score to boost their half-time lead with the elements to face in the second half.
It duly arrived in the 35th minute when slick handling saw Colin Conroy come off his wing, and he took a brilliant line to slice through the cover before feeding winger Matt Dever (pictured below) who dived over for an excellent try. Shaughnessy landed a superb touchline conversion to give the Blues a 17-6 half-time lead.
Corinthians came out all guns blazing in the second half with the wind at their backs, and with ‘Wegians having a man in the bin for persistent offside, they immediately attacked the ‘Wegians line.
However, they failed to take advantage of a succession of close-in penalties, and the hard-working Blues defence turned ball over and lifted the siege.
When Corinthians were then reduced to 14 men with a sin-binning of their own, ‘Wegians took immediate advantage by counter-attacking, and Dever showed a great turn of pace to cut through the midfield outside the 22 and dive over at the posts for his second try, which Shaughnessy converted for a 24-6 lead.
The game was never in doubt from this point, and ‘Wegians showed killer instinct to press on and hammer home their advantage.
A magnificent charge up the middle by the impressive prop Jason East punctured the home defence, and centre Gary O’Brien showed deft footwork to outwit the home defence and dive under the posts for a fourth try, and only 55 minutes played.
Both sides rung the changes towards the end, but there was no way back for Corinthians. And the second half was summed up in the 72nd minute when Brian McClearn plucked a high ball from nowhere and some superb handling by his supporting pack created the chance for stand-in captain on the day, Brian Murphy (pictured below), who dived over for a fifth try.
Shaughnessy made it six kicks from six when landing the conversion, and the Glenina outfit were not flattered by their 38-6 lead such was their dominance.
The only blemish for ‘Wegians was two late yellow cards for half-backs Shaughnessy and Marty Connolly, which allowed Corinthians to finally cross the whitewash in the last move of the game for a consolation try.
However, the provincial league crown title deservedly returns to Glenina, after a very satisfying campaign which sets them up nicely for the Ulster Bank League which starts at home to Dublin University on Saturday, September 13.