Galwegians make light of mud and opposition


ALL IRELAND LEAGUE/Garryowen ... 6 Galwegians ... 20: Galwegians cruised into the top four of the AIB All-Ireland League Division One with a comfortable victory over Garryowen at Dooradoyle yesterday.

The game was played in atrocious conditions and many doubted the wisdom of referee David Keane in allowing the game to go ahead on a waterlogged pitch. The conditions, however, were made to measure for Galwegians whose big and experienced pack dominated the proceedings throughout and gained a stranglehold on the game after a slow beginning.

Jeremy Staunton kicked Garryowen into the lead in the first minute but it was not the prelude to a happy day for the enigmatic youngster whose standard declined the longer the game went on.

He wasn't helped by a poor service from a young and inexperienced pack and in stark contrast, veteran Eric Elwood had a field day at outhalf for the visitors.

It came as no surprise when Galwegians struck for the game's first try on the half hour when their South African hooker Marnie Uijs galloped over between the posts after a fine attack in which Elwood played a major role.

Elwood tapped over the conversion and Galwegians were on their way. Staunton and Elwood exchanged penalties before the interval, at which stage Galwegians led 10-6. They weren't slow in putting the issue beyond doubt after the game restarted.

Garryowen captain and wing forward Colin Varley was shown a yellow card and the visitors pounced while he was out of the action. They produced a sparkling midfield movement which opened the way for full back Gavin Duffy to crash over beside the posts and Elwood to add the conversion to make the score 17-6.

By this stage Garryowen were suffering badly with injuries and well before the finish they had used all their substitutes and the game ended with a succession of uncontested scrums.

They did their best to narrow the gap sufficiently to emerge with a bonus point but attacking rugby through the three-quarter line was a hazardous and dangerous exercise in these conditions and the Galwegians line was never under serious threat.

Instead they struck for the last score, an Elwood penalty in the 77th minute.

Scoring Sequence: 1 min - J Staunton pen, 0-3; 31 mins - M Uijs try, E Elwood conversion, 7-3; 35 mins - Staunton pen, 7-6; 39 mins - Elwood pen, 10-6; 46 mins - G Duffy try, Elwood conversion, 17-6; 77 mins - Elwood pen, 20-6.

GALWEGIANS: G Duffy; N Carolan, M Murphy, M McPhail, J Cleary; E Elwood, A Page; D McFarland, M Uijs, P Bracken, J Casserley, B Gavin, M Swift, J O'Connor, E Peters. Replacement: A Burke for Murphy 35 mins.

GARRYOWEN: W Treacy; R Niland, D Crotty, D O'Sullivan, K O'Riordan; J Staunton, A O'Sullivan; S Kerr, P Humphreys, R Laffan, D Sheehan, D Fitzgibbon, C Varley, C Hartigan, J O'Sullivan. Replacements: P Griffin for Kerry 23 mins; E Kelly for Fitzgibbon 50; R Connolly for J O'Sullivan 67; P O'Brien for Kelly 75; D McInerney for Treacy 80.

Referee: D Keane (Leinster).