Galwegians under 20s beat the University of Galway 15-10 in the Bruce St John Blake Memorial Cup on Sunday in terrible wet conditions. With the ground extremely soft underfoot but both teams made really good use of the conditions with some really good ball retention despite the ball doing its best efforts to imitate a bar of soap.
College started the better playing up towards the clubhouse in the first half. They had the wind behind them, and they quickly went about their business. On 10 minutes they deservedly took the lead, with Donnacha Fox drawing first blood. College’s forwards sucked in the Wegians defence, to create space for the winger to score out wide. The near-impossible kick sailed wide, and College led by 5.
Wegians grew into the game and dominated the second quarter. Ryan Roach was kicking well and on the half-hour mark, nudged one into the corner to set up an attacking line out. A textbook line-out put second-row Marcus Lowery away making it 5 all at halftime.
Wegians came out with a slight wind at their backs in the second half, but it was college who came out on fire. A strong break took College into our 22 and they set up camp. Wegians made every effort to push them back, but 2nd row Dara Murphy eventually burrowed his way over, and they regained the lead. The conversion again sailed wide with difficult the wind against them this half. Wegians trailing 10-5.
Wegians really began to dominate thereafter, with Roach pulling the strings to set up territory in the 22. But a series of inaccuracies saw Wegians come away from the opposition 22 multiple times with no reward.
Finally, in the 75th minute, great heads-up rugby from Evan Brady, saw the centre set up a great attacking opportunity, bundling the College defence back over their own line, and winning the 5-meter scrum, which captain Brian McHugo would then a pick to score to right of the posts. Roach’s conversion was carried wide by the wind and the sides now level at 10 apiece.
At this point with the game all tied up, it looked like the cup might have to be shared and the league point halved, but straight from the restart Brady made the all-important break. Although he was held up short of the line, quick ruck ball put College on the back foot, Roach spun the ball out wide for fullback Josh Munn to score out left.
Even though the conversion sailed wide the game was beyond College’s reach and Wegians hung on to retain the cup. The game could have been anyone’s, and both teams deserve huge credit for making the best out of the dreadful conditions. But Wegians bring home the silverware and the four points.