Captain Neville hails 13-man Garryowen’s heroics

Garryowen captain Paul Neville paid tribute to his side’s defensive efforts after Saturday’s Bateman Cup final victory at Templeville Road.

The Limerick side were reduced to 13 men just before half-time when Declan Lavery and Corey Hircock were sin-binned within 30 seconds of one another. Two penalties from Luke Marshall edged Ballymena 6-5 ahead at the break, after Garryowen’s Neil Cronin scored a superb charge-down try.

But despite their numerical disadvantage, Garryowen started the second-half is superb fashion and were boosted when Ballymena flanker Ross Hackney picked up a yellow card. Alan Gaughan crashed over in the corner to restore the Munster men’s advantage as their defence held firm against theBallymena onslaught.

Gaughan scored a second try after a superb Fergal Lawlor pass and Ronan O’Mahony rounded out the win with a later score in the corner.

Neville, playing in his final match, said: “It was an unbelievable turnaround in the second-half. We did so well in the first 40 minutes but lost two players on the final play. Werectified it at half-time and really turned it around.”

Scorers for Garryowen: Gaughan two tries, O’Mahony try, Cronin try; Cusack two conversions.

Scorers for Ballymena: Marshall two pens.

GARRYOWEN: L Burke; A Gaughan (J Gavin ‘67), C Hircock, D Cusack (J McKierney ‘75), R O’Mahony; F Lawlor, N Cronin; JP Cooney, J Rael (A McMahon ‘72), D Lavery, F McKenna (C Hartigan ‘67), D Sherry, P Neville (c) (S Buckley ‘46), K O’Gorman (A Kavanagh ‘50), L Viapulu.

BALLYMENA: R McBurney (J Smith ‘70); A Frazer (I Vance ‘70), R Andrew, L Marshall, C Fitzpatrick; M Irwin, B McIlroy; C Black, John Andrew (A Warrick ‘11), S Shawe (C Carey ‘70), D O’Kane, Joel Andrew, S Mulholland (A Hamilton ‘19), P Pritchard (c), R Hackney.

Referee: Eanna Falvey.

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