NUI Galway Rugby hosted and won the Irish Universities Rugby Union (IURU) junior intervarsity competition, the Maughan Scally Cup, in Dangan on Saturday. NUI Galway, UCC, UCD and Trinity College Dublin all fielded sides this year. Each university played each other in a format of 3 x 40 minute matches, 20 minutes a-side, with the first round of games kicking off at 12pm.

ucdThe fine weather on Saturday helped to ensure expansive, running play, which made for eye-catching and exciting rugby for the sizeable attendance in Dangan. NUI Galway just managed to squeeze past UCD in their opening game owing to a dramatic try with the last play of the game. When the UCD fullback rounded the NUIG cover to score an excellent individual try late on, the match looked like it would end in a 15-15 draw. However, after receiving the restart, NUI Galway ran the ball from within their own 22 and excellent handling and interplay between backs and forwards culminated in captain and winger Alistair Baird touching down for the winning score in the corner. Fullback Cillian Waldron added the touchline conversion to ensure the win for the home team.

NUI Galway’s second match with TCD was a more open affair, with NUIG enjoying a comfortable lead going into half-time. NUI Galway’s industrious and mobile back row led the way, contributing three tries in what looked at half-time like it would be a comprehensive win for the home team. TCD rallied however and through adventurous and exciting running rugby brought the game back to within a score by the final whistle. NUI Galway’s defence stood firm and they were able to hold out and set up a thrilling final game with UCC, who had also won both their opening two games. The final kicked off with both teams relishing the physical exchanges early on and neither side looking like they would yield a score. However, as the game wore on, NUI Galway’s pack started to dominate in the set piece and in the loose.

UCCWith the forwards laying the foundation in the scrum and out of touch, NUIG’s backs ran in three great tries from David Ryan, Eoin Himpers and Jack O’Callaghan. Player of the tournament, outside centre Robert Kennedy converted all three tries and added a penalty to leave the final score 24-0 to the home side. It has been a memorable week for NUI Galway Rugby with the men winning the Maughan Scally Cup for the second time, and the women’s side unlucky to lose out by a single score to a strong University of Limerick side in the final of their league. The women’s side will be hoping to go one better in their intervarsity competition in Queen’s University Belfast this week.

NUI Galway’s results for the day were: Round 1: NUIG 22 – UCD 15. Round 2: NUIG 31 – TCD 29. Final: NUIG 24 – UCC 0. This intervarsity success is a well-deserved reward for everyone involved, and the industrious player/management team of Pete Small, Justin Conboy and Tom O’Regan.

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Gallery: HT minis – Ballinrobe, Ballyhaunis, Corinthians and Dunmore