Enterprising 'Wegians on the double in fine style
Galwegians 23 - Castlebar 7
Galwegians completed a league and Cup double over a battling Castlebar side in perfect conditions at the Sportsground.
Galwegians started the game brightly, spreading the ball wide at every opportunity and bringing a great tempo to their play. It was this enterprising play which saw Galwegians score the opening try of the game. Winger Hugh Lane broke well down the right before passing deftly inside to centre Jonah Culligan who finished well. Culligan was unable to add the conversion.
Castlebar attempted to come back into the game by putting some phases together close in but were unable to make any impact in the narrow channels against an aggressive Galwegians defence led by David Robb.
Galwegians doubled their advantage soon after. Following a lineout, the excellent 'Wegians half-backs spread the ball into midfield where second centre Jonah Culligan broke well and fed Hugh Lane who sped over into the corner. Culligan was again unlucky with the conversion. Galwegians continued to impress with ball in hand and Culligan added a third try following some excellent footwork.
At 15-0, Galwegians looked home and hosed but Castlebar began to play some rugby and looked extremely dangerous when they spread the ball wide with Mark Balaski and Barry Walsh a big threat throughout. Unfortunately, for Castlebar, their enterprise failed to tell as Culligan added a penalty on half-time, following a ruck infringement, to leave it 18-0 at the break.
After a stern talking-to at half-time, Castlebar came to life and attacked Galwegians with aggression from the kick-off. In fact, they pressured Galwegians into the concession of a five-metre scrum after a neat chip through by Killian O'Brien.
From the scrum Castlebar got to within a metre of the line but were turned over by some excellent Galwegians defence. Rob Hennessy cleared cross field and winger Hugh Lane gathered well before embarking on a 40-metre run upfield. When he was eventually dragged down, 'Wegians recycled quickly and spread the ball to full-back Jasper Byrne, who touched down in the left corner. A fantastic team try from their own line, which brought the score to 23-0.
Lesser teams would have given up at this stage and written the game off; however, to their credit, Castlebar forced their way back into the game and scored a try through winger Killian O'Brien following some excellent build-up play from Castlebar. Barry Walsh added the touchline conversion.
Castlebar continued to pressure Galwegians with a high tempo off loading game in search of the score which would really bring them back into the contest. Whilst they had chances they were unable to force that crucial score.
In the end Galwegians were deservedly crowned Connacht U-17 Cup champions to follow up their League victory from last weekend.