Malahide are up and running in Division 2B of the Energia All-Ireland League thanks to this much-needed bonus-point victory against fellow strugglers Galwegians.
Malahide had lost all their opening five games in this campaign prior to the visit of the Connacht men, but with a number of key players returning and their opponents’ own poor form the hosts went into this game quietly confident of victory.
Coach Brendan Guilfoyle welcomed back David Halloran, Adam Kennedy, Gary Robb and Robbie Collins for this must-win game, but it was the visitors who started on the front foot as they pushed Malahide back in their own half of the field.
Galwegians had chances to take the lead when they forced a couple of penalties in quick succession, but those chances with the boot weren’t taken as they were unable to make their territorial advantage count.
Matters got even tougher for Malahide when they were reduced to 14 men temporarily after receiving a yellow card, but despite wave upon wave of pressure the home side were able to protect their line thanks to some heroic defending.
Having withstood that barrage of pressure for more than 20 minutes Malahide were now on the front foot, and with one of their first attacks of the game they took the lead thanks to a fine try from David Feenan who managed to squeeze through a gap in the Galwegians defence.
David Halloran made no mistake with the conversion and out of nothing Malahide were 7-0 up.
The game ebbed and flowed for the remainder of the half, but the home side got a crucial score just before the break when Mick McGrath used all of his considerable strength to barge over the line after a spell of pressure inside the Galwegians ’22 from the hosts.
O’Halloran again mopped up the extras and that left it 14-0 at the break.
Malahide came out with all guns blazing at the beginning of the second half as they looked to put the game out of reach, and within two minutes of the restart they had scored a third try via a well-worked scrum which saw Mick McGrath gain possession before diving over the line.
O’Halloran popped over the easiest of conversions to put his side 21-0 in front and in total control.
Malahide were playing by far their best rugby of the season now, with Dan Hayes finding plenty of space out wide, while John Shine was linking up really well with the backs.
The bonus point try arrived midway through the second half thanks to a fine move which ended with player/coach Brendan Guilfoyle going over to make it 26-0.
Galwegians finally got on the scoreboard thanks to some loose defending from the hosts to make it 26-5, but any thoughts of a comeback were extinguished when Guilfoyle intercepted a cross-field pass before running half the length of the pitch to go in under the posts.
O’Halloran added the extras to make it 33-5, and although Galwegians scored two late consolation tries it wasn’t enough to deny the home team a much-needed victory.