The Limerick rugby club season kicked off in earnest over the weekend with the four quarter-finals of the Charity Cup down for decision.
There were wins for Shannon, Garryowen, Old Crescent and Thomond a week before the All Ireland League begins.
Thomond shocked UL Bohs on Friday night in Annacotty in a 40-29 win with two tries from coach Brendan Guilfoyle along with on each from Cian Coady, Eoin O’Neill, Leonard Slattery and Darragh O’Neill. Ben Sargent kicked five conversions for the Fitzgerald Park side.
Bohs, who had beaten Young Munster in the preliminary round, begin their Division 1A campaign at home to Belfast Harlequins on Saturday. Thomond, promoted from 2B last season, play Queens at home the following Saturday, September 20. AIL 2B side Old Crescent will be pleased to have began their season with a 24-18 Charity Cup quarter-final victory over 2A side Nenagh Ormond at Rosbrien.
After a lively start helped Old Crescent into a useful 8-0 lead early on, the Rosbrien side never looked back.Old Crescent scored a brace of tries through Alan Bennie and Cathal O’Reilly. Shane O’Brien also contributed 14 points with the boot.
Old Crescent begin their AIL 2B campaign at home to Armagh on Saturday, September 20.
In Saturday’s game, Shannon were pushed all the way by Richmond before recording a 27-14 win. Shannon actually were 20-0 up early in the second half but two Richmond tries - from Alex Simpson and Mike Kelliher, both converted, had them well back in contention entering the last ten minutes. But Shannon rallied and a late try from David O’Donovan, his second, saw them through. Their other tries came from Tadhg Bennett and Brian Dunne. Bennett also added seven points off the tee.
Garryowen won the other quarter-final on Saturday when they just about saw off the Bruff challenge in Killballyowen Park, 24-19. Bruff missed two penalties late on when trailing by just two points and sub Fionn McGibney finally made the win safe for Garryowen with a penalty in injury time.
Declan Bannon had scored all 19 points for the home side through a try, a conversion and four penalties but he was forced off in the second half and wasn’t on the field to take their late shots at goal.
Garryowen, who led 15-9 at half-time had tries from Andrew O’Byrne and James Frawley, while impressive out-half Jamie Gavin kicked three penalty goals and a conversion.
Garryowen open their AIL Division 1B season at home to Shannon this Friday while they also play their great rivals in the Charity Cup semi-finals. The other other Charity Cup semi-final is between Old Crescent and Thomond.
- For more on these games see the Monday print edition of the Limerick Leader