10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
CORINTHIANS 15 GALWEGIANS 31, Corinthian Park
Scorers: Corinthians: Tries: Bryan Dixon, Owen Daly, Finlay Bealham
Galwegians: Tries: Jason East, Anthony Ryan, Brian Murphy; Cons: Tadhg Leader 2; Pens: Tadhg Leader 4
Despite the difficult conditions, both sides fielded strong attacking teams and served up six tries in this high-scoring affair cup final.
Playing with the advantage of a first half breeze, hosts Corinthians started the better but they were frustrated by some stout Galwegian defence.
And it was the Glenina outfit who took the lead in the tenth minute when prop Jason East rounded off a well-worked lineout maul to ground the ball for the opening try.
However, Corinthians' response was swift and decisive when following a lineout of their own, a good break by Cian Begley was finished in the corner by Bryan Dixon to level the game.
The Blues regained the lead just after the first quarter when full-back Tadhg Leader landed his first penalty, however yet again the hosts responded almost immediately. This time some good work by the pack resulted in their second try, with winger Owen Daly grounding the ball in the corner for a 10-8 lead
And the Cloonacauneen men were not done yet, as their third try came on the half hour mark when a lineout straight off the training ground worked a treat, with promising prop Finlay Bealham bursting through a gap in the Blues defence to score.
The home supporters were jubilant and dreaming of revenge for their recent Ulster Bank Division 2A defeat at Crowley Park.
However, another missed conversion was to prove costly, and the Blues steadied the ship with Leader adding another crucial penalty before half-time to reduce arrears the 15-11 at the break.
In the second half the rain stopped and the wind picked up if anything, and a strong team talk by head coach Colm Rigney clearly had the desired effect as 'Wegians gained firm control of proceedings to put one hand on the trophy.
The pack laid the spadework, and some judicious line-kicking saw them make the most of the elements. On 45 minutes Corinthians captain Finn Gormley was sin-binned for killing the ball, and a third penalty from Leader reduced the gap to a single point.
The Blues kicked on and shortly afterwards they took the lead for the third time in the match. Another period of forward domination saw the pack maul their way over for a second time, with workhorse Anthony Ryan getting the touchdown.
Leader had his kicking boots on as he landed the conversion to make it 21-15, and moments later more pressure from the visitors led to another penalty which the Castlegar man struck to give his side a nine-point cushion. It was a lead which the visitors would never relinquish.
As the game entered the final ten minutes Corinthians took advantage of some slack play by the visitors to work their way up towards the 'Wegians line, but they were unable to make the crucial breakthrough with Leader eventually managing to clear his lines.
The game was sealed with an excellent try in the 76th minute when a clever chip through by ex-Corinthian out-half Dave Clarke near halfway was hacked on for the onrushing Brian Murphy to outsprint the cover and touch down for the final try of the game.
Leader's conversion put a bit of gloss on the final score and despite an excellent showing by both teams, especially in the difficult conditions, there was no doubt that the trophy deservedly returns to Glenina.
Galwegians's prize is a place in the Ulster Bank Bateman Cup semi-finals on Saturday, January 19. They will host Leinster champions and Division 1A side St. Mary's College.
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