Connacht Junior Plate Final

Corrib 11-33 Westport

Westport RFC are the Connacht Junior Plate champions after a thrilling 33-11 win over Corrib in the sunshine at the Sportsground today with the scoreline not an accurate reflection of a closely fought encounter.

Westport RFC after winning the Connacht Junior Plate final

J1C champions Corrib were looking to complete the double after a 9-3 win over Dunmore in the league final on St Patrick’s Day but J1A side Westport proved too strong in an exciting encounter.

The crucial moment arrived just before the hour as Corrib, trailing 18-11 but with a one-man advantage following a yellow card, brought play to within a metre of the Westport line.

A knock-on dropped to Westport’s Aiden Walsh and the scrum-half showed outstanding pace to sprint clear down the blindside before passing inside to winger Colm McNichol who outstripped the covering defence to touch down under the posts for a thrilling length of the field score.

Bartley Walsh’s conversion made it 25-11 to effectively clinch the win for Westport with a Walsh penalty and late Mick Macken try putting a gloss on the scoreline.

It was Corrib who made the brighter start as captain Evan Flynn, whose three penalties clinched the J1C title, kicked his side into an early lead as both sides kept the ball in hand as much as possible.

A Kevin Corcoran try in the left corner saw Westport gain the ascendancy but Corrib prop Alipate Halatuituia crossed from close range to give his side an 8-5 lead.

A second Westport try, from prop Tom Geraghty, and then a Walsh penalty that went over via the post, gave Westport a 13-8 lead after a closely contested first 40.

Winger Niall O’Malley gave Westport the perfect start to the second half as he crossed in the right corner within seconds of the restart to increase the lead.

A yellow card for threatened to derail Westport’s surge for the Cup as Flynn immediately kicked Corrib within seven points with the scoreboard showing 18-11 with 46 minutes on the clock.

McNichol’s breakaway try put paid to any hopes of a Corrib comeback, however, and a second Walsh penalty made it 28-11 before Macken crossed late on to cap off a fine Westport performance.

Westport RFC: Dave Keane; Niall O’Malley, Sean Tobin, Kevin Corcoran, Colm McNichol; Bartley Walsh, Aiden Walsh; Tom Geraghty, Joe O’Connor, Cormac Grodan; Kevin Gill, Mick Macken; Michael Ryder (C), Ed Moran, Liam Scahill.

Rolling replacements: Brendan McLoughlin, Eddie Dunning, Eoin Joyce, Darragh Walsh, Dave O’Malley, Adam Burke.

Corrib RFC: Noel Sheridan; Ronan Casey, Thomas Lee, Owen Carey, Fergal Carey; Cormac Bane, Evan Flynn (C); Alipate Halatuituia, Christy Reilly, Kevin Reilly; Mike Conroy, Brendan Murphy; Brian Lee, Stephen Reilly, Cathal Reddington.

Rolling replacements: Raphael Lee, Conor Moylan, John Gannon, Eugene Kenny, Dylan Cunningham, Shane Meenaghan, Charles O’Sullivan.

Corrib RFC

Westport’s Kevin Corcoran tackled by Corrib’s Mike Conroy, Brian Lee and Cathal Reddington

Corrib’s Christy Reilly charges at Westport’s Dave O’Malley

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