YOUNG Munster remain on the coattails of the leaders in Division 1A of the AIL after recording a gritty 22-16 victory over UCD at Tom Clifford Park.
Fifth-placed Munsters bounced back from their disappointing away defeat to leaders Clontarf, to record a deserved victory over the students in their final fixture before the Christmas break.
A smashing early try from centre Dan Goggin provided the home side with an ideal start, while scrum-half Brian Haugh added the conversion and five further penalty goals.
Next up for Munsters’ - eight points behind leaders ‘Tarf - is a crucial clash away to Cork Con on January 4.
Garryowen will be glad to see the back of 2013 in the All-Ireland League as the ‘light blues’ suffered an eighth straight defeat in Division 1A to remain in serious relegation trouble.
Tom Tierney’s side remained firmly rooted to the foot of the table after losing 15-5 to second-placed Old Belvedere at Anglesea Road.
Belvo’, under the guidance of former Garryowen coach, Paul Cunningham, outscored their visitors by two tries to one, with the Limerick side’s five-pointer coming courtesy of centre Andrew O’Byrne. The defeat leaves winless Garryowen eight points adrift of Ballynahinch, who occupy the relegation play-off spot in the 1A table. Garryowen must ready themselves for a ODM Munster Senior Cup final showdown with Cork Con at Thomond Park on Friday, December 20 before their AIL campaign resumes with a home fixture against St Mary’s College on Saturday, January 4.
Meanwhile, it was a very good day for Limerick’s two sides in Division 1B as both UL-Bohemian and Shannon recorded wins.
UL-Bohs are fourth in the table after their impressive 31-16 bonus point win over Buccaneers at Annacotty. The home side led 14-3 at half-time, thanks to tries from David Johnston and Jack O’Donoghue, while second half tries from Ed Kelly and Kevin O’Byrne helped the home side secure the bonus point.
Fifth-placed Shannon picked up a precious win on the road, with a thrilling 19-18 success over Malone. Shannon raced 19-6 in front early in the second half, with three tries from Andrew Finn, two, and Shaun Horgan and two conversions from Tadhg Bennett. However, the visitors had to withstand a strong Malone comeback before claiming the four points.
In Division 2A, Bruff picked up a losing bonus point in their 19-15 away defeat to Ballymena, but remain rooted to the foot of the table, while Old Crescent dropped to 14th place after a 34-0 thumping away to Galwegians.
High-flying Thomond are third in 2B after an impressive 24-9 win over Instonians at Fitzgerald Park. Thomond scored three tries including two from Eugene Payne and Dean O’Brien. However, Richmond slipped to second-from-bottom in 2B following their heavy 41-8 away defeat to Nenagh Ormond on Friday night.