Playoff berth guaranteed for Galwegians

Galwegians confirmed their place in the AIL Division 2C play-offs with a statement win over Clonmel, beating the county Tipperary side 46-13 at Crowley Park.

Three changes to the starting line-up for Galwegians saw captain Jack Winters return to the fold, while Rob Holian returned to the second row. Josh Munn came in on the wing for another AIL start.

Galwegians looked dangerous from the outset, taking less than two minutes to open the scoring. Darragh Kennedy laid it off to Josh Munn, who evaded the Clonmel tackles to dot down. Tiarnan Neville converted to put Galwegians up by seven.

A second try came after five minutes as Winters pummelled his way through the cover to score. Neville kicked wide to leave the score at 12-0. Clonmel got on the scoreboard with a penalty just three minutes after.

Full-back Albert Fronek then crossed the whitewash after a shaky start by Clonmel. Diarmuid Brannock made the break and had Fronek on his shoulder who secured the try. O’Connor’s conversion made it a two-point game.

Galwegians earned some breathing room with a third try as Ryan Smith scored from yet another lineout maul. Neville converted to leave the score at 19-10.

Clonmel put themselves back in touch after winning a scrum penalty inside the Galwegians' half. At a tight angle, O’Connor opted for the posts and was rewarded with three points after a precise kick.

The bonus point-winning try came from the Galwegians set-piece. This time it was from a scrum in midfield. The Blues went out to the left wing and found Mallon, he then fought off the would-be tacklers to scored brilliantly in the corner.

Soon enough they grabbed their fifth of the afternoon as Ryan Smith scored his second try, his third brace of the season. Once again the lineout maul was too strong for Clonmel to counter, leaving the score at 29-13.

Clonmel were waiting for the half-time whistle to regroup but their struggles were compounded as Brannock saw yellow for a high challenge. Galwegians capitalised to score try number six, as Rob Deacy touched down right at the end of the half. Some clever footwork from Deacy saw him skip past the Clonmel players. This capped off an extraordinary first half for the Blues.

Clonmel came back fighting in the second and were close to a second try on occasions. Some strong Wegians' defence kept Brandon Delicato out.

With the clock ticking, Galwegians had the game won, but looked to extend their advantage further. With five minutes to go, they got try number seven, as substitute Sam Feely scored his first AIL try. A Neville cross-field kick found Feely. Linking up with Deacy, the two combined to score in the corner, making it 41-13 after Neville’s conversion.

Josh Munn scored late on to increase the Galwegians' tally. Neville found Munn isolated on the left and played a long ball out to the wing. Munn had an open road to score the try and finish another big win for the Blues.

In a weekend where all of Galwegians' rivals in the top five lost, this was a massive win for their promotion ambitions. Clogher Valley’s late defeat to Midleton means that Galwegians even have an outside shot at the title, as they are just five points behind with two games to play. It’s out of their hands but they are certainly not out of the hunt.

Galwegians play Midleton this Saturday away at Towns Park where a victory will secure a home semi-final at the very least with the chance to narrow the gap at the top.

 

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