Heineken Junior Cup Final – 30th March, Sportsground

Galwegians 35-15 Westport

Galwegians claimed their 2nd Junior cup title in 3 years at the Sportsground on Sunday with a comprehensive 35-15 victory over Westport. The Junior 1B Champions capped off a fine season that has seen their firsts also win the Ulster Bank League Division 2A with another trophy to add to their locker.

The Galwegians backline looked lively in the opening exchanges, but it was Westport who began to take control, missing their first opportunity at points after 10 minutes from a penalty. Wegians weren’t helping themselves by conceding several early penalties as they struggled to adapt to the ferocity of Westport’s breakdown work and the referee’s interpretation. Eventually on the half hour mark, Westport eventually turned their superiority to points by kicking a penalty. 3-0 to Westport.

Barely two minutes later, following a mix up in the Westport defense, promising full back Ciaran Gaffney was able to step his way through the cover defence to give Galwegians the lead. Conor Lowndes converted for a 7-3 lead. Things got worse for Westport moments later, as experienced scrumhalf Paul Jennings was sinbinned for illegal use of the boot. Lowndes was able to add a penalty to the scores before halftime, leaving the halftime score at Wegians 10-3 Wesport.

Westport were made to pay for Jenning’s indiscretion early in the 2nd half as Lowndes immediately struck for Galwegians just after the break. After Lowndes converted his own try, Galwegians were dominanting the 14 men from Mayo and had a healthy 17-3 lead. This didn’t last however, as when Westport returned to their full compliment of players; Matt Dempsey charged through to narrow the scores to 7.

Westport’s discipline was becoming a problem now, as almost immediately after the try they conceded a penalty, which allowed Lowndes to give Wegians a cushion in the scoreline. The Wegians backline was now cutting through the Westport defence only to be let down with handling errors and forward passes. On 60 minutes however, a blindside snipe from Lowndes released winger Dave Butler who finished impressively from a long way out. Galwegians had one hand on the cup with 20 minutes to go and a 27-10 lead. Things got even better ten minutes later as Lowndes put over another penalty to go 30-10 ahead.

That wasn’t the end of the scoring though, as Wesport put some respectablity in the scoreline with a try from Andrew McAleer with two minutes to go. Westport pushed for another score, but an intercept try from Galwegian’ Matt Dever on the full time whistle. Final score Galwegians 35-15 Westport.

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