REJUVENATED Garryowen have given themselves a fighting chance of pulling off the ‘great escape’ in All-Ireland League Division 1A after recording a precious 33-16 bonus point win over local rivals Young Munster at Tom Clifford Park this Saturday.
Garryowen moved to within two points of second-from-bottom Ballynahinch in the top flight after stunning their hosts with three tries in the third quarter to win an entertaining derby clash.
The ‘light blues’ have collected 10 points in their three most recent AIL fixtures, taking full advantage of the fact that the fixture involving relegation rivals ‘Hinch was postponed this weekend. The Ulster side’s game in hand on Garryowen is against 1A joint-leaders Old Belvedere.
A Harry McNulty try on the stroke of half time saw Garryowen build a useful 11-6 lead over Munsters’ in spring-like conditions at Greenfields. Garryowen took a firm grip on the game in the third quarter with three further tries from Neil Cronin, Mark Rowley and James McInerney ensuring the Dooradoyle side picked up a maximum five-point haul. Out-half Jamie Gavin also kicked 13 points for the visitors. Next up for Garryowen is another high stakes clash with UCD in Belfield on Saturday, March 1.
Replacement Sean Rennison scored a late try for Munsters’, while Willie Staunton kicked 11 points. The defeat effectively ends Munsters’ slim hopes of claiming a second AIL title.
Meanwhile, in Division 1B, UL-Bohemian moved up to third place in the table, thanks to an entertaining 39-34 bonus point victory over Malone on the 4G rugby pitch at UL.
UL-Bohs edged the try-count 5-4 in a high-scoring affair. Number eight Rory Cunningham bagged two tries for the Annacotty side, while prop Kevin Flanagan, hooker John Sutton and centre Rory White also crossed the whitewash. Winger Robbie Burke kicked 14 points.
UL-Bohs are now six points behind second-placed Corinthians who occupy the promotion play-off spot in Division 1B.
Also in 1B, Shannon’s scheduled clash with Dungannon at Stevenson Park was postponed due to the recent inclement weather. Shannon do have a fixture next Saturday when their rescheduled clash with Blackrock College takes place at Stradbrook.
In Division 2A, Old Crescent suffered a 47-3 drubbing at the hands of UCC at the Mardyke. The defeat leaves Old Crescent struggling in second-from-bottom place in the table on 15 points.
Bruff’s scheduled clash with Seapoint at Kilbogget Park was postponed. Bottom side Bruff remain 8 points behind Crescent, but have a game in hand on their Limerick city rivals.
In Division 2B, promotion-chasing Thomond suffered a frustrating one point, 15-16, home defeat to leaders Nenagh Ormond. While Dermot Fitzgerald was in good form with his goal-kicking for Thomond, the game-winning kick was struck over by Nenagh Ormond’s John Lillis.
The defeat leaves Thomond in third place in the 2A table, now 10 points behind leaders Nenagh and four adrift of second-placed Greystones.
Also in 2B, Richmond recorded a precious 14-6 away win over 14th-placed Sligo. Emmet Harty scored the Richmond try, while Wayne Murphy added the remaining points with the boot. The victory moves Richmond up to eighth-place in the table.