After a few close attempts in recent years, the Galwegians U-17 age group finally claimed the title of All-Ireland champions with a comprehensive and thoroughly deserved win over Leinster champions Gorey in Naas this Sunday.

Playing into the teeth of a strong first-half breeze, Wegians showed some signs of early nerves but eventually settled into their pattern of play. They were making light work of facing the elements with another powerful display from their pack paving the way. The back-row were beginning to get on top with captain and Irish international Sean O’Brien leading by example, aided and abetted by his flankers Ross Kerrigan and John Martin and an impressive front 5 unit in front of them.

The Blues had the first chance to take the lead but the stiffening breeze denied out-half Ciaran Gaffney with an early penalty opportunity. However they made the vital breakthrough on 20 minutes when some excellent driving play from the forwards gave scrum-half Paul Power the chance to dive over for a well deserved opening try. Gaffney landed the conversion to put the Blues 7-0 to the good. However the Wexford men were undaunted and they threatened at times to take advantage of the elements in their favour, only to meet a stern defensive wall of resistance. And the Blues struck a killer blow right on half-time when Gaffney struck an outrageous penalty from the 10 metre line against the breeze to give the Blues a vital 10-0 half-time cushion.

Gorey came out all guns blazing in the second half and their pressure was forcing a succession of penalties, which eventually led to the sin-binning of Wegians winger Niall Kane for a deliberate knock-on. However the Blues showed their worth with a remarkable 10 minutes of play with a man down, during which they scored 10 unanswered points. Gaffney added a second penalty shortly after the binning when the Blues turned defence into attack, and the killer blow came when skipper O’Brien intercepted a pass and dashed home unopposed to touch down under the posts for a second try. Gaffney’s conversion made it 20-0, and with the out-half and his half-back colleague Power now in control of the game, the title was all but secured.

Gorey did manage a consolation score on the hour mark with a converted try from Eddie Earl, but it was too little too late as they had no answer to a superbly organised Wegians side who were determined not to let silverware slip from their grasp. And so it proved, as the final whistle was greeted with wild celebrations from the massive Wegians support on show.

1- Matthew Joyce, 2 – Ciaran Gavin, 3 – Dan McArdle; 4 – Stephen Murray, 5 – Patrick Dervan; 6 – Ross Kerrigan, 7- John Martin, 8 – Sean O’Brien (capt.);  9 – Paul Power, 10 – Ciaran Gaffney; 11 – Niall Grogan, 12 – Paul Hackett, 13 – Paul O’Donnell, 14 – Niall Kane; 15 – Paddy Kitt.
Subs: 16 – Dara Byrne,  17 – Seosamh Fallon, 18 – Eoghan O’Brien, 19 – Eoin O’Dwyer, 20 – Eoin Hughes, 21 – Finn Stoneman,  22 – Andrew Butler.


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