THE Ulster Bank All-Ireland League took centre stage locally once again over the weekend with Limerick’s eight senior sides involved in key fixtures.
On the international front, Limerick was strongly represented when Ireland took on Georgia in an autumn international at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday, with local man Eoin Reddan skippering the side and Munster players bagging four tries between them.
1. MUNSTERS’ WINNING RUN ENDED
YOUNG Munster remain third in Division 1A of the Ulster Bank League, despite suffering a disappointing 21-15 defeat away to St Mary’s College on Saturday. On the back of a three-game winning run, Munsters would have been confident of seeing off Marys at Templeville Road. However, John Staunton’s side came unstuck in the second half and had to make do with a losing bonus point from their trip to the capital. Munsters’ defeat has allowed the chasing back in the battle for top four places gain valuable ground.
2. WOOTTON HAT-TRICK INSPIRES GARRYOWEN
A HAT-TRICK of tries from Munster Academy winger Alex Wootton saw Garryowen secure a 32-24 bonus point win over Ballymena in 1B and leapfrog their opponents in second spot in the table. Munster flanker Barry O’Mahony also touched down for the Dooradoyle side, while his brother Ronan also impressed for the ‘light blues’.
In a highly competitive division, it is critical for Garryowen to stay in touch with pacesetters Galwegians in the promotion battle. In the same division, Shannon moved off the bottom with a 20-16 win over UL-Bohs at Thomond Park on Friday night.
3. THOMOND ON THE RISE
SATURDAY was a memorable day for Thomond who got back to winning ways in Division 2A of the Ulster Bank League with a 16-13 victory over Skerries at Liam Fitzgerald Park.
The result keeps Thomond in fourth place in the table, six points off pacesetters Old Wesley. Following the game, Thomond were presented with the Limerick Charity Cup and also celebrated the official opening of their excellent new club facilities at Fitzgerald Park. On the back of gaining promotion from 2B at the end of last season, the ‘royal blues’ have made an encouraging start to life in the higher division,
4. RICHMOND END LOSING RUN
HAVING lost each of their opening five AIL games, Richmond were desperate to avoid another defeat when Sligo visited Richmond Park. And while the home side didn’t win, they did record a battling draw 10-10. Richmond are second-from-bottom in the table, two points ahead of bottom side Ards and one point behind third-from-bottom Boyne
In the same Division, Old Crescent are 13th after suffering defeat to Sunday’s Well at Musgrave Park, while Bruff lie sixth after falling to a dramatic late defeat to Tullamore at Spollanstown.
5. PROUD WEEKEND FOR EOIN REDDAN
IT was a proud day for Eoin Reddan, his family, Old Crescent RFC and Crescent College Comprehensive on Sunday as the Limerickman became the first scrum-half since Niall Hogan in 1996 to captain Ireland when leading them out against Georgia at the Aviva Stadium. Ireland recorded a runaway 49-7 success, with another Limerickman Dave Kilcoyne scoring his first international try in the game. Kilcoyne’s Munster colleague Felix Jones bagged a brace of tries, while Simon Zebo also dotted down. Munster second row Dave Foley was awarded the Man of the Match accolade on his international debut, while Robin Copeland won his first cap off the bench.