Dan Goggin, Young Munster, is tackled by Charlie Cregan and Sean McNulty, UCD Picture: Gareth Williams
FOUR Limerick sides recorded vital Ulster Bank League wins as the battle for precious points cranked up a gear with now just two series of regular season games to go.
In Division 1A, Young Munster jumped up to second place in the table on the back of a deserved 28-13 victory over UCD at Tom Clifford Park. However, also in the top flight, Garryowen’s play-off hopes were severely dented after the fifth-placed ‘Light Blues’ suffered a heart-breaking 16-14 defeat to Cork Con at Temple Hill.
In Division 1B, UL-Bohemian boosted their survival hopes courtesy of a precious 18-16 away victory over Dolphin at Musgrave Park. The victory ensures UL-Bohs cannot face automatic relegation from 1B at the end of the season, with bottom-placed Belfast Harlequins set to play in 2A next season.
Shannon’s promotion play-off hopes are all but over after their 24-3 home defeat to in-form St Mary’s College on the back pitch at Thomond Park.
Meanwhile, in Division 2A, Thomond’s hopes of avoiding the drop suffered a serious blow when the Fitzgerald Park side suffered a 54-0 thumping at the hands of Banbridge at Rifle Park. Basement side Thomond are four points off ninth-placed Corinthians with now just two games to go in the regular season.
In Division 2C, leaders Old Crescent took another giant step towards securing promotion to 2B after thumping Kanturk 64-15 at Rosbrien. Crescent are now five points clear of Tullamore with two regular season fixtures to go.
Also in 2C, third-placed Bruff boosted their hopes of securing a promotion play-off place with a 26-15 home victory over Navan at Kilballyowen Park.
Munsters’, who have won six of their last seven top flight fixtures, scored three tries in their 15-point win over third-placed UCD through Craig O’Hanlon, Dan Goggin and Peter Meyer. Out-half Gearoid Lyons kicked eight points for the winners.
Garryowen were left cursing their luck after Neil Cronin’s late penalty goal crashed against an upright in their two-point defeat against Cork Con at Temple Hill. The reverse sees fifth-placed Garryowen slip three points behind fourth-placed Con who also have a game in hand.
Garryowen scored two tries from Andrew O’Byrne and Alex Wootton, while scrum-half Cronin kicked two conversions.
In 1B, ninth-placed UL-Bohs are within one-point of Blackrock College and three of Dolphin after their spirited win at Musgrave Park. Rory White struck for a vital second half try for the Annacotty side, while James Ryan also crossed the whitewash. Rick McKenna added two penalties, while Robbie Bourke converted one of the tries.
Shannon’s hopes of securing a promotion play-off place are hanging by a thread after the Parish side’s 13-point home defeat to high-flying St Mary’s College on the back pitch at Thomond Park.
Tadhg Bennett scored the only points for Marcus Horan’s side with a first half penalty goal.
In Division 2A, Thomond’s hopes of avoiding relegation suffered serious blow after their 54-point defeat to Banbridge. Thomond, who occupy the automatic relegation place, have now slipped four points behind Corinthians with just two games remaining.
In 2C, Old Crescent are closing in on automatic promotion after racking up seven tries in their hiding of Kanturk. Old Crescent, who led 26-10 at half-time, had tries from Gareth Quinn-McDonogh, Larry Hanly, Cathal O’Reilly, Brendan Guilfoyle, Sean Monaghan, Stephen O’Carroll and Paul McNamara.
In-form Bruff jumped up to third place in the 2C table and within touching distance of securing a promotion play-off, thanks to their 11-point victory over Navan. Bruff scored three tries, including two from Danny Keogh, to leapfrog fourth-placed Wanderers in the table.