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Derby Spoils For Gutsy Galwegians

Derby Spoils For Gutsy Galwegians

Galwegians made it back-to-back wins for the first time in this season’s Ulster Bank League with a determined display against their Connacht rivals Buccaneers.

Galwegians consigned Buccaneers to their third successive Ulster Bank League defeat, with a late try from hooker Conor Muldoon settling the issue at Crowley Park.

In a mix of sunshine and hail showers, this Connacht derby of swaying fortunes was in the balance right to the very end with 'Wegians, on the back of a sustained performance by their forwards, just about deserving this vital victory.

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Buccs looked the more likely throughout to grab tries but when the going got tough in the crucial final quarter, the home pack dominated.

The sides were level at 5-5 after an evenly-contested first half. 'Wegians captain John Cleary set up Connacht's Darragh Fanning for an opening 14th minute try which went unconverted.

Big Buccs number 8 Kolo Kiripati hit back when he intercepted a pass near halfway and raced over for a five-pointer. 'Wegians ended the half down to 14 men, following the sin-binning of their Connacht lock Dave Nolan.

The Pirates made early strides in the second half with Kiripati bursting through for his second try in the right corner.

But Nolan redeemed himself by notching a try in the 46th minute, although there was a possibility of a double movement.

The score was allowed to stand and out-half Dave Clarke, who took over the place-kicking duties, landed a 52nd minute penalty to edge 'Wegians in front at 13-10.

It was end-to-end stuff as just four minutes later, the in-form John O'Brien left a number of 'Wegians defenders in his wake for a magnificent individual try.

Again, the conversion was missed. This time, replacement David Connellan watched his effort bounce back off the post.

But crucially, 'Wegians had enough in the tank to produce two vital late scores. Clarke kicked his second penalty in the 65th minute to put the hosts in front again, before Muldoon crashed over following a well-executed lineout move.

Buccs had lost prop Conor Higgins to the sin-bin as they came under growing pressure, and Muldoon was able to pounce in injury-time.

Buccaneers' only consolation was that Clarke's conversion attempt from the touchline went wide, leaving the Pirates to salvage their third losing bonus point in as many games.

Referee: David Keane (IRFU)