Westport’s Under17s clinched a rare cup and league double in the Sportsground on Sunday, by way of a 29-20 thriller over Galwegians.

Rice College junior schools standout Tom McHale opened the scoring latching on to a wayward pass just short of the Galwegians line, Dwayne Corcoran responsible for the conversion.17sFinal90

A raft of first-half penalties stunted first-half continuity Galwegians converting one to points to squeeze the gap to four at the break.

Little separated the two in defence and at scrumtime, although Galwegians was able to assert a degree of dominance at line-out time. Self-belief and the weight of numbers just shy of the Westport line shoved Eoghan Hannon over for the Glenina gang’s first try, Conor Lowndes on-song with the extras. Lowndes struck another screamer within minutes after a Westport indiscretion to go to 13, six points clear.

The growing deficit riled the Carrowholly complement who strung together a tidy passage of forward and back interplay and won a kickable penalty which Corcoran duly converted to halve the gap. A Westport try shortly after, lock-forward Rory Murphy crashed over backed by a groundswell of forward support. Corcoran failed to split the posts on that occasion however, Galwegians restarted two points in arrears 15-13.

Disappointed, Corcoran more than made amends within minutes nabbing a Galwegians pass 60metres out and made short work of the space between he and line. Tom McHale stepped up for the conversion.

17sFinal230Far from written off, Galwegians mounted a concerted campaign for field position, succeeded, and stand-out loose forward Liam McKnight continued his honest toil at the breakdown. Fellow Jes’ College shipmate Ogie O’Malley, at outhalf, shot through desperate Westport defence to grab a second try for Wegians and closed the gap to two.

With the clock nearly exhausted, Galwegians sought something special for the finish, but it was Westport who secured a fairytale finish Paddy Galvey working a slick chip-and-chase on the final whistle, the Bulls’ fourth try and a 29-20 finish.

The two met in Tuam for the league final, another nail-biter which did not disappoint. By virtue of that win, Westport won the opportunity to contest the All-Ireland competition which Galwegians won last year. The weekend’s win for Westport cemented their position as the province’s best, albeit under severe and staunch pressure from the Galwegians contenders.

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