Garryowen look set for the drop from AIL’s top flight

Colm Kinsella

Reporter:

Colm Kinsella

Garryowen have set up a Bank of Ireland Munster Senior Cup quarter-final date away to Cork Con after defeating Shannon 22-12 in their first round tie at Coonagh on Saturday
GARRYOWEN’S unbroken run in the All-Ireland League’s top flight is all but over after the ‘light blues’ suffered a disappointing 26-12 defeat to Dolphin at Musgrave Park this Saturday.

GARRYOWEN’S unbroken run in the All-Ireland League’s top flight is all but over after the ‘light blues’ suffered a disappointing 26-12 defeat to Dolphin at Musgrave Park this Saturday.

Garryowen’s defeat coupled with Ballynahinch’s 35-8 bonus point win over Cork Constitution at Temple Hill leaves the bottom placed Dooradoyle side now 10 points adrift of second-from-bottom placed ‘Hinch with just two rounds of fixtures to come.

The bottom-placed side at the end of the regular season faces automatic relegation to 1B for next season with the side finishing ninth facing a relegation play-off in order to secure their top flight status.

Garryowen would need to record bonus point wins in their two remaining fixtures and hope ‘Hinch don’t take a single point from either game to have a chance of surviving. Even then, such is ‘Hinch’s superior points difference that the Limerick side would have to rack up big wins in both games in order to stand a chance of overhauling the Ulster side.

Dolphin led Garryowen 13-0 at half-time in Musgrave Park and while the ‘light blues’ managed second half tries from Shane Buckley and Alan Gaughan, they never really looked like overhauling their opponents.

Meanwhile, sixth-placed Young Munster produced a storming second half to pick up a bonus point in their impressive 33-12 win over St Mary’s College at Clifford Park.

Fit-again centre Kolio Hifo bagged a hat-trick of tries, while winger Derry O’Connor also crossed the whitewash. Brian Haugh added 13 points with the boot for a Munsters’ side which trailed 11-12 at half-time.

Both Limerick sides recorded excellent wins in Division 1B. Fourth-placed UL-Bohs remain in the promotion race after recording a resounding 41-17 win over Dungannon, scoring six tries in the process.

UL-Bohs who led 22-3 at half-time in the game played on the back pitch at Thomond Park had a brace of tries from centre Mossie Lawler.

Elsewhere, fifth-placed Shannon recorded a plucky 16-15 victory away to Belfast Harlequins.

A late Shaun Horgan try, converted by Tadhg Bennett helped the Limerick side stun their opponents late on. Rob Guerin also kicked three penalty goals for Shannon.

Meanwhile, in a rearranged fixture in Division 2B, seventh-placed Richmond recorded a 14-7 win over Instonians at Richmond Park.