But that’s exactly what happened to Garryowen against Lansdowne at Dooradoyle on Saturday and, predictably, they were on the receiving end of a 25-point drubbing. They now find themselves cast adrift at the bottom of the table with just two losing bonus points to show for their endeavours so far.
Lansdowne, last year’s runaway champions, are gradually making their way back after a poor start to the campaign. Coach Mike Ruddock was happy to see his much-changed team run in five tries, two each by lively prop Jack O’Connell and flanker Charlie Butterworth, and another by Brian Moylett.
“We have a very young team and I’m very pleased with them,” he said. “We have an entire new front row and have also lost players like Ross McCarron and Craig Ronaldson and that has made way for a lot of young fellas.
“You look at the scoreboard today and think we must have had it easy but Garryowen stretched us on a number of occasions.”
Ruddock’s counterpart Tom Tierney took solace from a fine late try by Ronan O’Mahony and the way they laid siege to the Lansdowne line either side of half-time.
“We’re almost at the halfway stage of the season and so we badly need the kind of results that would restore some confidence in the squad,” he said.
“Last year, we prided ourselves on our defence whereas today we handed Lansdowne 18 points in the first few minutes and so were left chasing the game.
“We are missing arguably five leaders of our squad and maybe brought one or two back too soon this week.
“I experienced plenty of this kind of thing as a player but it’s my first time as a coach. We hoped a lucky win over Shannon that put us into the final of the Munster Cup might gain us some momentum and were hopeful the first league victory might come today, but those early scores proved our undoing.”
LANSDOWNE: C Kelleher; C Aherne, M Roche, S Morrissey, F Horan; T Kiersey, I Burke; J O’Connell, T Moran, D O’Reilly, W Earl, B Moylett, C Ross, C Butterworth, R Boucher.
Rolling replacements: P Flood, P Dooley, B O’Callaghan, P O’Driscoll, S Deasy.
GARRYOWEN: R O’Mahony; A Wootton, A O’Byrne, C Doyle, J Frawley; A Gaughan, N Cronin; JP Cooney, J Rael, P O’Shea, A Valcu, D Mulcair, E Rossiter, M Rowley, S Buckley.
Replacements: R Brosnan, A McCluskey, B O’Mahony, H McNulty, S McMahon.
Referee: M Black (IRFU).