Heineken Connacht Junior Plate Final

Galwegians 33

Buccaneers 28

Galwegians: Gearoid Armstrong 2 tries, Ronan Burke and Michael O’Hare 1 try each; Ross Shaughnessy 3 pen, 2 con.

Buccaneers: Nick Purcell, Sean Flynn, Scott Flanagan and Harry Hughes 1 try each; David Fagan 1 con and 2 pens

For yet another season, the Heineken Junior Plate final at the Sportsground served up a very exciting contest as Galwegians and Buccaneers shared eight tries in a game where the lead changed hands seven times in the contest played out in perfect conditions at the sun drenched College Road venue on Sunday.

Twice in the second half the game was tied at 18 points each on 50 minutes and at 28 points apiece on 76 minutes. At that point, extra time was on the cards but in a game of top quality tries, the young guns of Galwegians had one final trick in their bag as a sweeping move saw Michael O’Hare score the match winning try in the corner right at the very end.

These two clubs are rivals at every level when it comes to club rugby in the province and the familiarity seems to only serve to offer up some gripping encounters be it at senior or junior level, Sunday was no different with the two early tries proving a foretaste of what was to come.

Galwegians led 15-13 at half time, centre Gearoid Armstrong had two tries during that first half but Buccaneers responded with one from Nick Purcell and a couple of penalties from Dave Fagan but a late penalty from Ross Shaughnessy restored the Galwegians lead.

Early in the second half, Buccaneers got back in front through Sean Flynn’s try and as the scores flowed, Scott Flanagan also added a try on the hour mark to keep his side in front at that point 23-21 with Shaughnessy kicking the penalties for the sky blues.

The final ten minutes proved to be thrilling with Galwegian Ronan Burke scoring a brilliant try to put his side in front before a turnover from Eoin Gavin and a well placed grubber kick  towards the corner from Dave Fagan set up the speedy Harry Hughes for a try that levelled the match with just a few minutes remaining.

That seemed to set up extra time but O’Hare and Galwegians had other ideas and won the game late on with a another superb backline move.

Buccaneers: G.Costello; D.Griffiths, S.Flynn, B.Walsh, H.Hughes; D.Fagan, N.Purcell; K.Grehan, S.Flanagan, B.Campbell; R.Byrne, S.Byrne (captain); P.Hennessy, E.Galvin and J.Donoghue.

Replacements:- B.Pears for Walsh;  N.Flynn for Hennessy; G.Fallon for Purcell;

Galwegians R.Burke; G.Armstrong, D.Symes (captain), P.Finn, S.Madden; R.Shaughnessy, D.Quill; C.Gavin, C.Dunne, K.Kyne; S.Perkins, C.O’Malley; E.Touhey, R.Moore and E.Hannon. R

Replacements: M.Fox for Gavin, C.Mackey for Finn; L.McKnight for Perkins; M.O’Hare for Madden and A.Byrne for Hannon.      

Referee:- Shane McElwee

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