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Galwegians Deliver The Goods To End Losing Streak
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Galwegians Deliver The Goods To End Losing Streak

Galwegians Deliver The Goods To End Losing Streak

Galwegians caused one of the shocks of the day in the Ulster Bank League when they defeated play-off chasers Garryowen 30-17 at Crowley Park. The third-from-bottom westerners won for the first time in five outings, with John Cleary helping himself to a brace of tries.

The game was played on soft ground following some heavy overnight downpour, but fortunately the rain held off for almost the entire match. Galwegians started with intent and they had the first opportunity to put points on the board when awarded a sixth minute penalty – out-half Shane O'Leary's difficult attempt was dragged wide by the strong breeze.

The Blues continued to dominate the opening exchanges, and they deservedly hit the front in the 11th minute. It followed some free-flowing build-up play which saw centre Api Pewhairangi make a break before setting up number 8 Anthony Ryan, who dived over near the right corner flag for the opening try for a 5-0 lead.

Garryowen reduced the margin before the first quarter was up when a third consecutive scrum penalty was awarded by referee Sean Gallagher, and scrum half Neil Cronin took advantage to split the posts.

However, it was a short-lived purple patch as Galwegians scored almost straight from the restart. When the Limerick men spilled the kick-off, the Blues attacked from deep and some more excellent back play created the opportunity for winger John Cleary, and the Wellpark flyer finished in the right corner again for his side's second try.

This time O'Leary judged the difficult wind to perfection to tag on the conversion and put his side 12-3 to the good. Despite struggling in the scrums where the visitors continued to hold the ascendancy, 'Wegians were dominant in every other aspect of play, really taking the game to their opponents.

They managed to score try number three within the half hour when their excellent hooker Jack Dinneen dismissed out-half Andrew O'Byrne with a clever hand-off which saw him power over from the 22-metre line in very impressive style. O'Leary converted and with the pressure unrelenting, the Connacht representative also landed a drop goal to give his side a commanding 22-3 advantage.

This was no more than 'Wegians deserved, but late on they allowed the visitors back into it when they failed to deal with a speculative up and under. This allowed Garryowen break down the right and an inside pass fed out-half O'Byrne who dived over near the posts, with Cronin converting to reduce the half-time deficit to 22-10.

Galwegians then brought on replacement prop Jason East at the break which steadied the scrum somewhat, and some excellent kicking from hand by O'Leary, who was having a fine game at stand-off, saw them dominate territory – albeit without ever really threatening to add to their scoring tally.

Garryowen patiently started to work their way back into the contest, and when a good penalty kick set up an attacking lineout in 'Wegians' 22, a clean lineout take by Aaron McCloskey set up a driving maul. Replacement prop JP Cooney got on the end of it to score his side's second try on the hour mark. Cronin landed an excellent conversion, and at 22-17 suddenly it was very much game on.

However, back came 'Wegians who again showed admirable resolve, and they seized the initiative to make the game safe. They grabbed their bonus point score within five minutes as Cleary claimed his second consecutive brace at home to Garryowen, following his memorable double in last season's Division 1B decider.

This time, the fleet-footed Cleary finished off a tremendous break by his wing colleague Adam Leavy to dive over near the left corner flag. Although he missed another difficult conversion, O'Leary made certain of the win with his second drop goal in the 74th minute.

The Limerick outfit tried hard to gain a consolation bonus point at least, but some excellent and committed 'Wegians defence kept the door slammed shut.

Referee: Sean Gallagher (IRFU)

Lineups Scorers

Match Lineups

Home Team

Ciaran Gaffney; Adam Leavy, Api Pewhairangi, Brian Murphy, John Cleary; Shane O'Leary, Barry Lee; Ja Naughton (capt), Jack Dinneen, Doron McHugh, Marty Cummins, David Nolan, Matt Towey, Paul Hackett, Anthony Ryan.

Replacements: Juan Anaya, Jason East, Aiden Moynihan, Ronan Moore, Alan McMahon.

Away Team

Dylan Sheehan; Ronan O'Halloran, James McInerney, Joey Purcell, Kieran Bennett; Andrew O'Byrne, Neil Cronin; Barry McNamara, Liam Cronin, Ben Rowley, Aaron McCloskey, Paul McCarroll, Shane Buckley, Jordan Coghlan, Dave Sherry.

Replacements: Caolan Moloney, JP Cooney, Michael O'Donnell, Johnny Keane, Ed Barry, Conor Oliver.

Match Scorers

Home Team

Tries: Anthony Ryan, Jack Dinneen, John Cleary 2; Cons: Shane O'Leary 2; Drops: Shane O'Leary 2

Away Team

Tries: Andrew O'Byrne, JP Cooney; Cons: Neil Cronin 2; Pen: Neil Cronin