IT was a mixed opening day to the new All-Ireland League season for Limerick sides who recorded three wins, including one for newly promoted Garryowen in Division 1A.
While Garryowen made a successful return to the top flight courtesy of a hard-earned 14-10 victory over Ballynahinch at Dooradoyle, the three other local sides in the top two divisions suffered defeat.
Garryowen and ‘Hinch were level 3-3 at the end of an uninspiring opening half. However, a try from Munster back rower Shane Buckley and two penalty goals from the boot of James Frawley guided Conan Doyle’s side to a precious victory.
Elsewhere in 1A, Young Munster suffered a heavy 29-6 defeat to Lansdowne in their repeat of last season’s semi-final fixture at the Aviva Stadium.
Munsters’ led 6-3 at half-time courtesy of a penalty goal and drop goal from Paul Downes. However, the Greenfields side failed to score for the entire second half as Lansdowne bagged four tries after the break to secure a bonus point.
Next up for Munsters’ is a crucial derby clash with Garryowen at Tom Clifford Park on Friday night, 7.30pm.
In Division 1B, Marcus Horan’s tenure as Shannon head coach began with a 21-11 defeat away to Buccaneers. Buccs’ led 8-3 at the break. Ronan McKenna kicked two penalties for Shannon, while Shane Mullally scored a late try for the Limerick side.
Also in 1B, there was disappointment for UL-Bohs who fell to a 33-5 defeat at home to Old Wesley on the back pitch at Thomond Park.
The Dubliners led 14-5 at half-time with Darren Moroney touching down for UL-Bohs. Wesley stretched clear in the second half, notching four tries in all to secure a bonus point.
In 2A, Thomond suffered a frustrating 15-16 defeat to Munster rivals Cashel at Liam Fitzgerald Park.
Thomond trailed 3-6 at half-time, but a Jamie McGarry try in the third quarter had the home side in front. However, the Tipp side scored 10 unanswered points to edge the outcome by a single point despite a late Thomond try.
The two Limerick sides in the new Division 2C opened their AIL season with victories.
Old Crescent scored a hard-earned 13-12 victory over Tullamore at Spollanstown.
The Limerick side had trailed by nine points, 3-12, at half-time. However, a 72nd minute try from Kevin Meade proved crucial for Crescent’s opening day win. Shane O’Brien kicked two penalty goals for the Rosbrien side, while Larry Hanly landed a vital conversion.
Bruff began their 2C campaign with an impressive 35-16 bonus point win away to promoted Dundalk.
Bruff, who trailed 15-16 at half-time scored five tries in all, with the impressive Brendan Deady touching down twice in the opening half. John Hogan and Tom O’Callaghan also dotted down for the Kilballyowen Park, ho were also awarded a penalty try late on. Tony Cahill kicked 10 points with the boot to complete the scoring.