Replay win for NUIG U-16 Lions
The NUI Galway Rugby Youth Academy U-16s - 'The Lions' - fought a long and challenging campaign over the course of the 2015-'16 season.
However, all the hard work and persistence paid off for this multi-cultured and multi-talented group of players as they won the Connacht Development League 2016, with a hard-fought win over Oughterard RFC.
This was the NUIG squad's third appearance in a row in a development league final, having won on their first visit to the decider in 2014, although a narrow defeat followed last year in the 2015 final.
Inspired by the Connacht rugby team's fantastic self-belief and work ethic, the NUIG U-16 Lions wanted to make amends for the previous year's failings and were determined to finish as winners this time against their compatriots.
In the end the glory was theirs, but the win didn't arrive until the second time of asking, having drawn the final on a scoreline of 3-3. This low-scoring, keenly-contested game set both teams up for an eagerly anticipated rematch a few days later.
The replay turned out to be an equally exciting and close contest, played in unseasonably wintry weather conditions in the first half. NUIG and Oughterard players gave it their all and after playing an additional six minutes in the second half, the Lions came out on top, beating a brave Oughterard side by 12-11.
So it's onwards and upwards for this club, as the NUI Galway Rugby Youth Academy look forward to the new 2016-'17 season with confidence. They wish to build on their success and to continue to provide the opportunity for youth rugby in the west of the city.