Monday 27 February 2017

Westport forced to dig deep to stay on track for treble

Westport 16 Monivea 14 Cawley Cup

Westport celebrate their victory
Westport celebrate their victory

Westport RFC continued their impressive season by winning their second trophy in two weeks on Sunday last.

Westport defeated Monivea in a tight encounter to lift the Cawley Cup, just two points separating the sides at full time.

The game was played in front of a fantastic travelling crowd in Corinthian Park and the conditions were perfect as the weather finally showed signs of improvement.

The annual competition is held in memory of the late Pat Cawley, a stalwart of Galwegians RFC. Members of Galwegians as well as members of the Cawley family were on hand to enjoy the occasion.

Westport started well in the first 10 minutes and underlined their status as the dominant junior club in the province this season with prolonged pressure in the Monivea 22.

Their dominance was rewarded on 12 minutes when Niall O'Malley got in for the first try of the game. Sean Tobin missed the conversion attempt to leave the score at 5-0.

Monivea grew into the game after the Westport try and played some great free-flowing rugby, the back-line looking particularly dangerous.

A succession of penalties within the Westport 22 meant the referee had to have stern words with the Mayo club's captain but Monivea were unable to capitalise on this pressure. Having been camping in the Westport half for much of the first half Monivea will have been disappointed to go in 5-0 down at half-time.

The second half began much like the first with Westport on top and after swift counter attack, No 8 David Keane, got in for the second try of the afternoon. Again the conversion was missed to leave the score 10-0 in favour of the Mayo side.

Monivea regrouped well and began to use their dangerous backline once again.

Twenty minutes into the second half the impressive Coleman Maher broke from the 10 metre line to score Monivea's first try. The conversion was duly slotted over by Ger O'Connor from under the posts.

Two minutes later and the game was turned completely on its head as Maher got in for his second try. This was converted to leave Monivea in the lead, 14-10 and an upset appeared to be on the cards.

Clawed

With just over 10 minutes remaining Westport clawed their way back into the contest with a penalty by Sean Tobin to leave the score line at 14-13.

At this point the game could have gone either way; Westport dominated territory but Monivea always threatened on the break, through the impressive Maher in particular.

Westport earned a crucial penalty on 72 minutes when Monivea players failed to roll away.

Tobin didn't miss his opportunity to give Westport the lead once again as he converted the kick from 35 yards out.

Monivea tried tirelessly to create one final opportunity to get a score which would hand them the win but the Westport defence held out.

Monivea will be disappointed having played much of the rugby and Westport will be relieved to get over the line when their best form eluded them.

Westport now turn their attention to the Junior Cup final where the face Ballina as they look to seal a historic treble.

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