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Galwegians 16 - Naas 27 2017-04-16 22:22:00

Galwegians 16 - Naas 27

Naas travelled to Galway last Saturday to face Galwegians in their final league fixture, knowing that a victory would give them a chance of securing home advantage for the upcoming play-offs. A large crowd made the trip west and they were to be rewarded with the required outcome. 

Galwegians themselves had plenty to play for as defeat here would condemn them to relegation to Division 2A. However it was Naas who looked the better side in the early stages and went close to opening the scoring on 11 minutes. Peter Howard has been in outstanding form since making his debut earlier this season, and here he made a great break up the left wing, brushing aside a couple of tackles but his inside pass just failed to find a Naas player with the try line beckoning.

On the 21st minute Galwegians took the lead. Referee Jonny Erskine judged that Naas had come in from the side at a ruck and Morgan Codyre struck the penalty between the posts. The lead lasted for just seven minutes. After Henry Bryce made a good midfield break the ball was moved out wide to Warren Larkin. The hooker made ground up the left wing and just as he was about to be tackled he showed good footballing skills by putting in a deft chip. The Galwegians defence failed to deal with this and Larkin was on hand to regather the kick and score a fine individual try to give Naas a 5-3 lead.

With four minutes to go in the half the lead swung the other way again. A couple of poor passes by the Naas backs led to Fionn Carr being isolated in possession, and when he was penalised for holding on, Codyre successfully kicked the penalty.

Naas though were to have the final say of the half. After gathering possession on the half-way line, Fionn Carr took off on a mazy run that left three opponents in his wake. With just one defender to beat he passed inside to Ben O'Connor who raced clear to score under the posts. Cillian Dempsey tapped over the conversion and Naas led 12-6 at the break. 

Eight minutes into the second half the lead was increased. Ben Swindlehurst was high tackled by the Galwegians defence and Dempsey had no problem with the penalty from 40 yards out.

Galwegians were now becoming desperate with relegation looming large, and committed a fatal mistake on 52 minutes. They were trying to run the ball from everywhere but they flung out a wild pass that was gratefully accepted by Peter Howard. There was no way the Naas player was going to be caught and Cillian Dempsey added the conversion. A fourth Naas try was added on 68 minutes. A Galwegians clearance was superbly caught by Fionn Higgins and he just managed to make the line to give Naas a 27-6 lead.

The game was now over as a contest and Naas certainly eased off and to a certain extent fell asleep. This allowed the home side score two consolation tries from Rory Parata and Alan McMahon but they ran out of time and Naas were winners on a 27-16 scoreline.

So after 18 tough, gruelling but superbly entertaining league games, Naas have finished second in the table. This is a magnificent achievement by the players, coaches and management team, even more so when many expected them to be in a relegation battle at the start of the season.

So now the play-offs await. With results going the way of Naas they gained that all important home advantage and now host U.L. Bohemian. That game is fixed for next Sunday with a 2.30pm start and all support will be greatly appreciated

Naas: Fionn Higgins, Ben O'Connor, Fionn Carr, Henry Bryce, Peter Howard, Michael Skelton, Max Whittingham,

Dan O'Byrne, Warren Larkin, Jason Harney, Paul Monahan, Stephen Kinneavy, Cillian Dempsey, Andrew Kearney, Eoin Walsh. Replacements: Graham Reynolds, Conor Doyle, Paulie Tolofua, Dave Barron, Ben Swindlehurst.

Galwegians: Aidan Moynihan, Matt Byrne, Rory Parata, Brian Murphy, Alan McMahon, Morgan Codyre, Barry Lee, Pa Curran, John Moloney, Doran McHugh, Anthony Ryan, Peter Claffey, Marc Kelly, Josh Pim, Eoghan Masterson.

Replacements: Ja Naughton, Martin Fox, Eoin Tarmey, Conor Lowndes, Eamon Dowling.



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