THE gusto with which the UL-Bohemian players sung their club anthem, the Red, Red Robin, in the changing room at Thomond Park aftet their gritty 16-12 win on Friday night provided an indication of just how significant this derby victory felt for them.
The rousing rendition was quickly followed by a chorus of ‘Ireland’s Call’ to honour UL-Bohs and Munster prop Dave Kilcoyne, on his call-up to the Ireland squad for the autumn internationals. Kilcoyne was one of the first into the changing room to congratulate his club mates on their hard-earned success over Garryowen.
A first half try from Rory Whyte and 11 points from the boot of out-half JJ Hanrahan – seven days after the celebrated his first start for Munster by bagging two tries against Zebre – saw the Annacotty side inflict a first AIL Division 1A defeat of the season on the ‘light blues’.
UL-Bohs’ were good value for their success, finishing the game strongest and bagging the game’s only try through Whyte’s well-executed effort.
The seventh-placed Annacotty side will return to the scene of the victory this Friday for another crucial 1A derby clash, this time against Young Munster.
Garryowen, who face old rivals Shannon at Dooradoyle on Friday in another Limerick derby, remain just a point off 1A leaders Lansdowne, despite the setback.
UL-Bohs head coach, Colm Tucker said he was pleased with how the side had reacted following their heavy defeat to Clontarf a week earlier.
“The key thing was how we responded to the defeat to Clontarf. Physically we were poor that day, very soft that day. We were fairly honest with the players during the week and they were honest themselves that it wasn’t acceptable,” Colm Tucker said.
“The lads fronted up physically tonight. We didn’t play that well, but we definitely fronted up physically.
“Garryowen executed their game plan for a long period of time, we were probably forcing it. But we were hanging in there and these are Limerick derbies. They are tight.
“It was a great take from Rory (Whyte) and great finish for the try. That shows a lot of hunger to take high balls and then sprint 30 metres to score. Then for JJ (Hanrahan) to put the conversion over from the sideline was terrific.
“Overall, the game was all about intensity and passion, the close-in exchanges. There were a lot of penalties at the breakdown. It wasn’t pretty on the eye, but the team which came out with the four points was the happiest team.
“We finished the stronger team. I thought Garryowen had been marginally better than us up until then, to be fair. We reacted very well to going behind in the second half.”
Tucker praised JJ Hanrahan’s attitude and focus having been released from the Munster squad to play in the derby clash.
“I was surprised to get JJ back for the game, but the guys are bound by what Ireland need and Ronan O’Gara needed a game with Munster,” Tucker pointed out.
“Like JJ himself said, ‘what a game to come back for.’ That is the attitude of the guy, the kind of fella he is.
“Dave Kilcoyne came into the dressing room there and he got an awful slagging from the lads over his call-up to the Irish squad. They started singing ‘Ireland’s Call’ to him. Dave is a real, real good rugby player and deserves to be where he is.”
UL-Bohs return to Thomond Park this Friday to face Young Munster (7.30pm).
Garryowen head coach, Tom Tierney said UL-Bohs final quarter final display had been crucial to the outcome.
“It could have gone either way, but we are disappointed by the result,” Tom Tierney said.
“It was the first Limerick derby of the League. We were up against it. We felt we were going to very competitive and we were. But unfortunately Bohs’ played well for the last 10 or 15 minutes, real Cup rugby.
“You would have to take your hat off to them. But we will learn. We will come back. It is a league of 18 games, so you are going to lose sometime.
“It is about how you bounce back and we have a huge match against Shannon next week.”
SCORERS – UL-Bohemian 16: (Rory Whyte try, JJ Hanrahan three pens, one con). Garryowen 12: (Jamie Gavin four pens)
UL-BOHEMIAN – Ben Martin; Rory Whyte, Mossie Lawler, Niall Kenneally, Darren Moroney; JJ Hanrahan, Cathal Sheridan; Alex Simpson, Eddie Rossiter, Gary Walsh; Ed Kelly (Capt), Darragh Frawley; Conor Kindregan, Ian Condell, Sean Rennison. Replacements: Tom Burke, John Sutton, Brian Walsh, Rory Cunningham, Tim Rafferty.
GARRYOWEN – Matt Jarvis; Cian O’Shea, Corey Hircock, Conan Doyle, Ronan O’Mahony; Jamie Gavin, Neil Cronin; Rory Brosnan, James Rael, JP Cooney; Alan Kennedy, Dave Sherry (Capt); Shane Buckley, Barry O’Mahony, Anthony Kavanagh. Replacements: James McInerney, John Mark Griffin, Brendan Cullinane, Aaron McCloskey, James McInerney, Geoff Ryan.
REFEREE – Peter Fitzgibbon (IRFU)