Nenagh Ormond won the Limerick Charity Cup for the first time when edging past Garryowen at the Markets Field on Friday night
PRE-MATCH favourites Garryowen suffered a surprise 25-24 defeat to first time winners Nenagh Ormond in the 93rd Limerick Charity Cup final at the Markets Field on Friday night.
Garryowen’s return to their former home for the first time in 60 years ended in disappointment as a penalty goal from Nenagh’s hugely influential New Zealand full-back Clayton Stewart on 76 minutes edged the Tipperary side to a thrilling victory.
Garryowen did have the opportunity to snatch victory at the death. However, Neil Cronin’s penalty attempt from close to the left touchline flew narrowly left and wide. The final whistle sounded immediately after.
Garryowen fielded an experimental side for the game, a mixture of youth and experience as they were missing several key members of their Ulster Bank League Division 1A squad.
The Dooradoyle side had defeated Old Crescent 33-19 to reach the decider, while opponents Nenagh edged past UL-Bohemian 20-17 to book their final place.
Garryowen made the ideal start, striking for the game’s opening try inside five minutes when number eight Mark Rowley powered over following a scrum just inside the opposition ‘22.
The conversion attempt was missed and the North Tipp side drew level in the 13th minute when spreading the ball wide before David Gleeson touched down in the right corner.
The ‘Light Blues’ regained the lead on 25 minutes when winger Andrew O’Byrne dotted down on the left corner. The Doradoyle side earned dood field position after Lorcan Bourke’s grubber kick was carried back over the try-line by a retreating Nenagh Ormond player.
Centre David McCarthy expertly landed the conversion for a 12-5 lead, but was off target with a subsequent penalty attempt on 30 minutes.
However, the Tipperary side hit back strongly with Clayton Stewart landing a 34th minute penalty goal, before the full-back’s crossfield kick found Nenagh winger Gerard O’Gorman who collected possesion before darting clear to score. Stewart converted to help Nenagh into a 15-12 lead at half-time.
AIL Division 2A side Nenagh tightened their grip on the decider when pouncing for a third try in the 48th minute when the North Tipp side forced a turnover on the Garryowen 10 metre line, before flanker John Healy rampaged through to score. Stewart’s conversion made it 22-12.
Garryowen responded to that setback by bringing on Cronin, Dean Moore and Timothy Ferguson in a bid to re-ignite their challenge.
Resilient Garryowen hit back with a third try of their own on 56 minutes when replacement Peader Collins showed good strength to touch down, when benefitting from an excellent break through the middle of the Nenagh defence. The conversion was missed, so the Tipp side’s stood at five points, 22-17, entering the final quarter.
Garryowen hit the front in the 73rd minute when awarded a penalty try after their well-executed maul was hauled down as the ‘Light Blues’ forwards powered their way over the tryline.
Garryowen now led an entertaining final 24-22. However, the complexion of the game changed once more in the 76th minute when Nenagh were awarded a penalty just outside the Garryowen ‘22 and Kiwi Stewart successfully landed the kick.
Garryowen did have an opportunity to snatch victory at the death, but Cronin was off target with that last gasp penalty attempt.
SCORERS: Nenagh Ormond: David Gleeson, Gerard O’Gorman, John Healy try each, Clayton Stewart two pen, pens, two cons. Garryowen: Mark Rowley, Andrew O’Byrne, Peader Collins, try each, pen try, David McCarthy con.
GARRYOWEN: Lorcan Bourke; Andrew O’Byrne, Paul Clancy, David McCarthy, Sam Gleeson; Jamie Gavin, Aaron Leonard-Rice; Barry McNamara, Liam Cronin, Nikolas Hildebrand; Barra O’Byrne, Aaron McCloskey; Darren Ryan, Mikey Wilson, Mark Rowley. Replacements: Niall O’Shea, Michael O’Donnell, Dean Moore, Neil Cronin, Peader Collins, Timothy Ferguson, Roy Whelan.
NENAGH ORMOND: Clayton Stewart; David Gleeson, Peter Coman, William O’Connor, Gerard O’Gorman, Jamie McGarry, Eoin Gardner; Fergal Brislane, Aidan Doyle, John F Coffey; Kevin O’Gorman, Kevin O’Flaherty; John Healy (Capt), John O’Flaherty, John Hayes. Replacements: Conor Muldoon, Niall O’Gorman, Andrew Hodgins, Cian Comerford, Derek Corcoran, Nicky Irwin, William Coffey.
REFEREE: Ken Imbusch (IRFU)