Young Munster, UL-Bohs and Thomond record AIL wins

Colm Kinsella

Reporter:

Colm Kinsella

Young Munster's Edward O'Keeffe powers through the UCD defence in their Ulster Bank League Division 1A clash at Clifford Park on Saturday
YOUNG Munster, UL-Bohemian and Thomond were the only three Limerick winners on a hectic weekend of Ulster Bank All-Ireland League action.

YOUNG Munster, UL-Bohemian and Thomond were the only three Limerick winners on a hectic weekend of Ulster Bank All-Ireland League action.

Battling Bruff will take plenty of positives from the manner in which they fought back to earn a draw with Highfield in Division 2B.

Battling Young Munster fought back from a 19-5 deficit to score a gutsy 24-19 victory over UCD in their Division 1A tie at Tom Clifford Park on Saturday.

When the home side fell 11 points adrift in the tie at half-time, the prospects of John Staunton’s side recording that success looked slim.

The Cookies, who lost at Castle Avenue in their precious outing despite leading at half-time, responded in the 25th minute when great approach work from centre Ed O’Keeffe teed up an unconverted try for winger Barry Gibbons.

However, Harry McNulty try for UCD gave the students a 19-5 lead and Young Munster had it all to do.

Bit by bit, they got back in touch with Willie Staunton landing a drop goal and he drilled a penalty over six minutes into the second period.

Young forwards Diarmaid Dee and Luke O’Halloran then made their presence felt as Munsters took advantage of a UCD yellow card with a well-taken try from bustling centre Dan Goggin, who played a starring role for the Irish U-20s in the Junior World Championships earlier in the year. Staunton converted to make it 19-18.

Teenage replacement David O’Mahony came on to play a vital role in deciding the outcome in the Limerick side’s favour. The 18-year-old from Adare coolly slotted two decisive penalties in the 75th and 80th minutes to complete Munsters’ memorable fight-back.

Meanwhile, UL-Bohemian are sitting pretty in Division 1B of the Ulster Bank League after recording back-to-back wins on a day when both Garryowen and Shannon suffered defeats.

UL Bohemians took the spoils 16-13 in an all-student clash with Dublin University at Sydney Parade.

Munster Academy member David Johnston crossed for a second half try, putting UL-Bohs 13-3 in front as they Annacotty side capitalised on some poor Trinity defending. Out-half Shane Airey added a third successful penalty and that proved enough.

Garryowen, winners over Shannon in their opening game, suffered a 25-22 defeat to Buccaneers in a six-try thriller at Dubarry Park.

Buccaneers side did most of the damage in the first half and had two tries on the board by the seventh minute to lead 18-3 at half-time.

Garryowen mounted a strong comeback after the break. James Frawley touched down in the 53rd minute down, with Jamie Gavin converting. Munster back-row Barry O’Mahony added an unconverted effort to cut into Buccs’ lead at 18-15.

But the hosts hit back with a try 15 minutes from the end from scrum half Mark Dolan.

The ‘light blues’ remained in the hunt when Frawley squeezed past two defenders to complete his brace in the right corner. Gavin’s excellent conversion made it a three-point game once more.

Late drama followed as Gaughan missed a penalty attempt and a Garryowen drop goal effort did not go to plan as Buccs clung on for victory.

Shannon are still looking for their first win of the campaign after suffering a 29-25 defeat to Galwegians on the back pitch at Thomond Park.

Out-half Tadhg Bennett handed Shannon the lead with an early penalty but the first of two Jerome Harimate’s tries had the visitors in front.

Another Bennett penalty made it 14-6 at the interval. However, ‘Wegians stretched 26-6 in front with two further tries.

Clarke’s 72nd-minute penalty came in response to a Ciaran Cunnane try for the home side and Shannon showed their battling qualities to poach a losing bonus point late on courtesy of late scores from lock Ruairi O’Donnell and winger Conor Cunnane.

Promoted Thomond made an excellent start to Division 2A of the Ulster Bank All-Ireland League after defeating Queen’s University at Liam Fitzgerald Park.

However, there was disappointment for the two Limerick city sides competing in Division 2B as both Old Crescent and Richmond suffered opening day defeats.

Thomond have enjoyed an excellent start to the season, already securing their place in the Limerick Charity Cup final where they will face Garryowen.

And the ‘royal blues’ continued that fine run of form with a bonus point win in their opening AIL fixture of the season.

The in-form Darragh O’Neill bagged the all-important bonus point try for the home side.

Thomond had held a slender two point, 17-15 lead at half-time.

Meanwhile, in Division 2B, Richmond slipped to a 28-32 home defeat to Midleton at Richmond Park, while Old Crescent lost 13-7 to Armagh at Rosbrien.

Richmond made a slow start against Midleton and fell 17-6 behind. However, the home side rallied superbly to lead 18-17 at half-time.

Two tries from Brian Collins and one from Stephen Collins had the home side 28-20 in front and looking on course to pull off a famous comeback win.

However, the East Cork side finished the game strongly and two tries, one a penalty try helped the visitors record a four-point win.

There was disappointment for Old Crescent who were unable to recover from a disappointing first half display against Armagh which saw the Limerick side trail 13-0 at half-time.

Crescent did pick up a losing bonus point in the second period thanks to a Cathal Monaghan try which was converted by Shane O’Neill.

Meanwhile, also in 2B, Bruff recovered from a 15-point deficit to earn an exciting 18-18 draw with Highfield at Kilballyowen Park. Highfield led 15-6 at half-time.