Saturday 30th November 2019:
Energia All-Ireland League Division 2B: Galway Corinthians v Greystones, Corinthian Park, 2:30pm
Preview: John Mulligan
As league games go, this is going one of the most important games of the season for Galway Corinthians as they welcome league leaders Greystones to Corinthian Park this Saturday. It has already been an exciting season for JP Cooney’s side that have four wins in Division 2B from their six games played and await the Connacht Senior Cup Final in which they will face a Sligo side who got the better of Galwegians last weekend in the Semi-Final.
While the chance of winning the Senior Cup for the first time since 2011 is certainly appealing and with it a place in the Semi-Finals of the Bateman Cup, it will matter little on Saturday afternoon as they face a Greystones side who have outstanding all season up to just two weeks ago when they were shocked by Sligo in Dr Hickey Park.
With just a point separating the sides and with second placed Blackrock College only drawing with Wanderers who have dropped to fourth as a result of that draw, the scene is now set for an exciting run into Christmas with only four points separating the top four sides in the division – eight if you include Malahide who currently lie fifth.
Greystones will certainly be stung by their one point defeat to Sligo. Before that game they had scored an impressive 158 points in their five previous appearances and looked untouchable. However, Sligo’s 20-19 win came after they led early on only to concede giving Greystones a seven point lead coming into half time. The tries coming from Mark Meyler and Alex Ryan.
Sligo responded by scoring fifteen points without reply before a late try with five minutes to go from gave Greystones some hope. They will be coming to Galway on Saturday no doubt to put that defeat right.
However, Corinthians have been just as impressive. Wins in their opening games over Ballina and Galwegians put them in a strong position before coming slightly unstuck against Belfast Harlequins in Deramore Park. A second defeat in a row at home to Wanderers did not tell the story of the game that saw the team going much closer than the score suggested and when they faced Sligo in Hamilton Park three weeks ago, it was a transformed side who dominated from the start and tries from Mark McDermott, Michael O’Reilly and Dan Trayers along with excellent kicking from Conor Dean set the team up for a possible bonus point. One that was made certain by Craig Hansberry towards the end.
That win put Corinthians within touching distance of the top three but they would next face a Dungannon side that were capable of causing an upset. It would not be as tries from Oran McNulty, Dan Trayers, Michael O’Reilly, Conor Burns and Eoin De Buitléar made sure of the bonus point win and with Conor Dean again accurate with the boot and other results going the way they did, Corinthians were now third and just three points from the top of the table.
A win on Saturday will put Corinthians top of the table or at the worst second as Blackrock College share the lead with Greystones at the moment. Both teams have their stars and have players capable of changing the game in an instant and of all games on Saturday in the Energia All-Ireland League, there is no doubt that this is most anticipated given its importance.