Belfast Harlequins 36 Galwegians 34
Belfast Harlequins held on for victory in an astonishing game at Deramore with 11 tries being scored as promotion-chasers Galwegians almost pipped Quins for the victory in the final minute after battling back from trailing 36-12 early in the second half.
Galwegians had a last-gasp penalty to win the game but to the relief of an embattled Quins’ side, Aidan Moynihan pushed his effort wide, as he did with most of his kicks during the clash, and Adam Larkin’s men took five points after scoring first half tries from Mark Glover, Mark McGrath, Tom Fraser, Frank Taggart and the excellent Sean Reidy.
This gave Quins a seemingly secure 33-5 lead at the interval and Michael Heaney’s early second half penalty - he ended up also converting four scores - were the only points Adam Larkin’s men managed after half-time.
What made the Connacht side’s comeback even more remarkable - they scored six tries and took two points from the game but slipped off the top of the table with one game to go - was that they managed it after having winger Colin Conry red-carded in the 59th minute after a high hit on Mark Best.
Earlier they had also had two men sin-binned with Brian McClean and John Cleary’s yellow cards briefly overlapping to leave the visitors with only 13 on the park.
Galwegians had scored the first of their six tries after two minutes from John Cleary but then Quins took control with McGrath, Fraser, Reidy, Taggart and then Glover all crossing the line before the half ended.
Brian Murphy then got the first of his three scores for 14-man Galwegians before Heaney’s penalty looked to have settled things down at 36-12 but the Connacht side suddenly upped a gear with some scintillating attacking which saw Cleary get his second before Anthony Ryan crossed.
Murphy then got his second and third with Moynihan only converting his final score.