THOMOND are celebrating promotion to Division 2A of the All-Ireland League after scoring a thrilling 14-10 play-off victory over Highfield at Woodleigh Park this Saturday.
Thomond’s prospects looked bleak when they fell 10-0 behind to the Cork side who had finished third-from-bottom in Division 2A. However, the Brendan Guilfoyle-coached Thomond side fought back superbly with full-back Dermot Fitzgerald crossing for a crucial try which he also converted. A second Thomond try from Darragh Payne, again converted by Ballynanty Rovers soccer star Fitzgerald, saw Thomond hit the front.
The royal blues, unfortunate to miss out on automatic promotion on mere points difference on the final day of the regular season, retained their four-point lead to the final whistle, much to the delight of their large band of travelling support.
Thomond will be the sole Limerick side in 2A next season, as both Old Crescent and Bruff were relegated to Division 2B where they will join Richmond.
On a dramatic final day of action in Division 1A, relegated Garryowen denied Old Belvedere the title when recording a deserved 23-18 victory before the live RTE cameras at Dooradoyle.
Garryowen made the perfect start with a Harry McNulty try, converted by Andrew O’Byrne inside the opening few minutes giving the ‘light blues’ an early 7-0 lead and the home side held the upperhand to defeat their title-chasing rivals, coached by former Garryowen supremo, Paul Cunningham.
Garryowen led 14-7 at half-time, with their remaining points came courtesy of an Anthony Kavanagh try and 13 points from the boot of Andrew O’Byrne.
Elsewhere, in 1A, Young Munster completed their top flight programme with a 45-24 defeat to UCD. Munsters’ shipped six tries in all, hitting back with three of their own, through Sean Rennison, Brian Haugh and Paul Allen.
In Division 1B, UL-Bohemian finished third after suffering a 28-26 home defeat to Blackrock College. The Annacotty side managed three tries through Ian Condell, Ed Kelly and Eoin Sweeney. Shannon also suffered a two-point defeat, 19-17, to Dublin University in Dublin. Shannon scored tries through James Murphy and David O’Donovan, while Rob Guerin landed a penalty goal and two conversions.
Seventh-place Shannon play their postponed game against Dungannon at Stevenson Park next weekend.