Line-out action from Garryowen's Ulster Bank League Division 1 semi-final with Lansdowne at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday
GARRYOWEN'S first appearance in a Division 1 Ulster Bank League semi-final for nine years ended in a disappointing 36-19 defeat at the hands of a clinical Lansdowne side on the main pitch at the Aviva Stadium this Saturday.
A resilient Garryowen side remained well in this contest through the third quarter and trailed by just three points, 12-15, after 52 minutes.
However, Division 1A regular season winners Lansdowne stunned their opponents with two tries inside eight minutes to quickly stretch 17 points clear at 29-12.
Those scores ripped the heart out of Garryowen's challenge in a high quality game which produced some excellent running rugby and no shortage of intensity, endeavour and industry.
While Lansdowne crossed for five tries in all, Garryowen managed just one five-pointer which arrived in the 77th minute from Liam Cronin. His brother Neil had kept the 'Light Blues' in touch throughout with the boot landing four penalties and a conversion.
While Garryowen will be disappointed to have come up short in their bid to reach next weekend's showpiece final for club rugby, this season's Munster Senior Cup winners can rightly feel that the side made significant progress this season, finishing fourth in the 1A table, 12 months after they had to see off UL-Bohemian in a relegation play-off to preserve their top flight status.
The Limerick side deserved to be closer to their opponents, who were unbackable favourites at 1/7 to progress to the final before kick-off, given their collective efforts. However, Garryowen lacked that bit of cutting edge, power and pace on the day that Lansdowne possessed in abundance.
Lansdowne's five-try haul included a brace for flying winger Adam Leavy, younger brother of Dan who has impressed for Leinster and Ireland this season.
Lansdowne will now face champions Cork Constitution in nest weekend's final, a repeat of this season's Bateman Cup final, which Lansdowne won last weekend.
LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills; Foster Horan, Harry Brennan, Fergal Cleary, Adam Leavy; Scott Deasy, Alan Bennie; Martin Mulhall, Tyrone, Moran, Ian Prendiville (capt), Josh O'Rourke, Jack Dwan, Jack O'Sullivan, Aaron Conneely, Willie Earle. Replacements: James Rael, Peter Dooley, Greg McGrath, Barry Fitzpatrick, Charlie Rock, Ian Fitzpatrick, Mark O'Keeffe.
GARRYOWEN: Andrew O'Byrne; Liam Coombes, David Johnston, David McCarthy, Bryan Fitzgerald; Jamie Gavin, Neil Cronin (capt); Niall Horan, Diarmuid Barron, Andy Keating, Sean O'Connor, Dean Moore, Tim Ferguson, Jack Daly, Darren Ryan. Replacements: Liam Cronin, Ben Rowley, Sean Rennison, Mikey Wilson, Paul Clancy, JP Phelan, Bailey Faloon.
REFEREE: Stuart Gaffikin (IRFU)
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.