Header2014 IRFC

1st XV win 26=21 at home to Galway Corrinthians 1st XV


On Saturday 14 October 2023 Instonians welcomed Galway Corinthians to Shaws Bridge for a highly anticipated match as the opposition were a formidable side who had come 2nd last season to the excellent Greystones side who are now performing well in the division above.

Kieran Faherty and his party were warmly welcomed to the pre match lunch where everyone was royally entertained by guest speaker Gary Bell (“Beller”) who had captained Instonians back in 1993 when they returned to the top division. Many of that team were there including Instonian and Irish legendary left winger Keith Crossan.

18 matches in an AIL season dictates that you must have a big squad of players and having had all 4 Whitten brothers playing together at Skerries last week it was only David in the squad this week. On the plus side, however, both Rhys O’Donnell and Mark Keane returned to the squad after injury. It was also nice to see centre Davy Scott get a start after his long lay-off last year with injury and for Marty Voster to get his 1st start in Instonian colours in the 2nd row.

Expectation was high on the packed balcony and along the touchlines as the clock reached 2.30 p.m.

14:30 Instonians 0 – Galway Corinthians 0

In bright sunshine and playing with the wind Galway Corinthians kicked off playing towards the far car park.

14:33 –Instonians 0 – Galway Corinthians 3

The visitors immediately went through the phases and were rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts 30 metres out and they opened their account.

14:39 –Instonians 0 – Galway Corinthians 3

The 1st scrum of the match saw the visitors with the put in but Instonians put down an early marker with the scrum penalty. Unlike the visitors, however, Instonians turned down the kick at goal into the wind and chose to kick to the corner 15 metres out on their left. They used their maul to advance towards the line and then used support runners to advance towards the posts forcing the visitors to concede a penalty 5 metres out just to the right of the posts. Again Instonians turned down the easy 3 points in favour of a scrum. The ball was moved right off the scrum but right on the line Instonains conceded a penalty at the breakdown and the visitors used the wind to clear from their line right up to halfway.

14:47 –Instonians 0 – Galway Corinthians 10

Instonians continued to keep the ball in hand into the wind and went through the phases to take play to the visitors 10 metre line but again conceded a penalty at the breakdown. Instonians competed at the subsequent line-out, but the ball went forward, and the visitors were awarded a scrum on the Instonian 10 metre line. What followed no doubt delighted the visitors coaching team as a set play off the 10 in the backs worked a treat as the final receiver ran in without a hand being laid on him for a great try.

14:53 –Instonians 0 – Galway Corinthians 13

At this stage the sunshine had given way to the first very heavy shower of the day. From the kick off Instonians gave away another penalty at the breakdown which the visitors kicked to the Instonian 10 metre line on the left and when another penalty followed from the next play the referee called the Instonian captain to point out the number of penalties his team were conceding. This latest one resulted in 3 more points for the visitors.

If there had been any doubt about the step up from division 2C to 2B it was now truly dispelled and this was going to require a considerable effort from Instonians to turn this game around.

A great jackal by Paul Pritchard saw Instonians get the next penalty at the breakdown and advance up the pitch and from a scrum just outside the visitors 22 number 8 Gary Dillon broke forward from the base and found his captain David Whitten in support to get within 5 metres of the line. The visitors scrambled well in defence and then were awarded a relieving penalty.

Instonians had noticeably picked up their level however and it was again their captain David Whitten to the fore as he made a great break up to the visitors 22 and a great opportunity to score which was stopped by the visitors at the expense of a yellow card.

The rain had now passed and the sunshine returned but more significantly the wind had completely died down. Instonians again declined the kick at goal in favour of a kick to the corner for a line out 15 metres out. It looked to be the right decision when their driving maul advanced towards the line and strong runners then took them right up to the opposition right under the posts but the visitors scrambled in defence and managed to hold the ball up over the line to get the relieving drop out.

That was the last real action of the first half with the visitors good value for their lead.


HALF TIME –Instonians 0 – Galway Corinthians 13


The visitors would have been well pleased with their halftime lead and that they were clearly winning the breakdown and the penalty count so more of the same would have been the order of the day. Instonians had plenty to think about and also knew that their comeback (if there was to be one) would not be aided by the elements as it was now a lovely sunny day again but with no wind to talk of.

15:18 –Instonians 0 – Galway Corinthians 13

Scrum-half Rhys O’Donnell took the initiative shortly after the restart with a quick tap penalty as he beat the initial defensive line and then found support runners with him as Instonians got within 5 metres of the visitors line looking to get that first score but again the visitors got a relieving penalty at the breakdown for holding on.

15:29–Instonians 7 – Galway Corinthians 13

Instonians then won another scrum penalty on the half way line which out-half Richie McMaster kicked to touch on the visitors 22 metre line on Instonians right. A great driving maul marched up to the 5 metre line and the visitors conceded a penalty. This was kicked to touch for another attacking line out. Instonians this time showed great control moving the ball in phases back and across the pitch before Schalk Van Der Merwe crashed over under the posts giving Richie McMaster an easy conversion.

15:34–Instonians 14– Galway Corinthians 13

You felt that the next score was crucial and captain David Whitten who was playing blindside flanker today showed that it does not matter what shirt number is on your back with a searching kick to find touch on the visitors 5 metre line.

From the next play the visitors conceded a penalty and Instonians declined the kick at goal to go for more and from the resulting line out the captain finished off his good work by diving over the line in the corner. When Richie McMaster added the extras with an excellent touchline conversion, all the visitors good work in the first half had been undone and Instonians were in the lead.

15:42–Instonians 21– Galway Corinthians 13

Instonians were now on top and keen to convert this into points. Again it was captain David Whitten with another great break taking play deep into the visitors half with the home side winning a succession of penalties and a yellow card for the visitors.

Instonians pounded against the visitors line and eventually centre Bevan Prinsloo used his considerable strength to muscle his way over under the posts, the extras were easy this time and the home side had stretched their lead beyond 1 score.

15:54–Instonians 21– Galway Corinthians 18

The visitors then showed great character in their response to all this Instonian pressure and from a penalty they kicked to touch for a line-out 15 metres out on their left. Instonians again spoiled the line-out but the ball went forward and the visitors had the scrum put in. They attacked from the base and went through the phases and when their 9 saw he had a penalty advantage he gave a good long miss pass out to the left winger who scored in the corner. The conversion was missed but the visitors were back within 3 points. Game on.

15:59–Instonians 26– Galway Corinthians 18

The heavy rain then made another appearance as Instonians had a scrum in centre field on the visitors 22. Another strong scrum gave Instonians a penalty in front of the posts. Decision time with just a few minutes left. Take the easy 3 points for a 6 point lead and maybe risk losing the game to a converted try ? Without hesitation Instonians kicked for the line out 5 metres from the line and returning hooker Neil Saulters hit his man with the line out and then joined the driving maul to get his 1st try of the season. It will surely not be his last. The win was secure and with a bonus point too. The conversion was missed retaken and missed again but it mattered little.

16:02–Instonians 26– Galway Corinthians 21

The visitors knew that the win had gone but were smart enough to launch one last attack and showed great control going through the phases to get into Instonians 22 and got a penalty which they gladly converted to give them a losing bonus point which they richly deserved for their 1st half performance alone.

FULL TIME – Instonians 26– Galway Corinthians 21

Credit to both teams for producing such an exciting match. It should be some game in the return fixture in Galway but they both have many fixtures to negotiate before that. The visitors really took the game to Instonians in the 1st half and threatened to put the game to bed but Instonians showed great character to turn it around in the 2nd half. The visitors richly deserved their losing bonus point and will take that into their home match with Malahide next week. For Instonians it is a trip to Magherafelt to play Rainey Old Boys on Saturday 21 October 2023 at 2.30 p.m. to complete the current block of 3 games before the 1 week break.

MOM today could not have been easier as although there was only 1 Whitten in the squad today as opposed to 4 last week, he was simply immense. Captain for the day David Whitten is that man.