Garryowen were so aggrieved at a refereeing decision that cost them the title after an extra-time battle with the Temple Hill outfit last season that they appealed the outcome to the Munster Branch. Their claim fell on deaf ears, however, and after qualifying for yet another decider by beating UL Bohemian 23-3 at Thomond Park on Saturday, forwards coach Paul Neville laid their level of determination at reversing that final result very much on the line.
“It was heart-wrenching and had a dire effect on us for the rest of the season. But that’s all done and dusted now and it’s time to get on with it. However, we are very unhappy at being asked to play the final two days after Christmas. These are amateur players with work and family and who knows how many other commitments. In fact, the four teams that reached the semi-finals made it clear they didn’t want to play on that date. What makes it worse is there is a Munster A game another two days later with the inevitable call on players from both finalists. There is a weekend in January free of AIL games that would be much more suitable.”
Neville admitted Garryowen were “gutted” at losing to Galwegians a week earlier in the AIL: “We didn’t do ourselves justice in that game and worked on a few things during the week that came off against Bohs. We took our chances and then defended well when they came at us in the final quarter.”
Garryowen held a decisive edge for most of the game. Whereas Jamie Gavin knocked over three first-half penalties, one from halfway, Shane Airey managed only one from three for Bohs. The outcome was decided before the break as captain David Sherry finished off a good attack with a well-taken try converted by Gavin.
Garryowen stretched their lead with a penalty try again converted by Gavin on the hour and held their line despite sustained Bohs pressure.
GARRYOWEN: L Bourke; J Frawley, A O’Byrne, C Doyle, J McInerney; J Gavin, J Glynn; P O’Shea, E Rossiter, B Rowley, M Hanrahan, A McCluskey, J Hrstich, D Mulcair, D Sherry capt.
Rolling replacements: J M Griffin, B McNamara, M O’Donnell, P McCarroll, J Keane, J O’Sullivan, A Griffin.
UL/BOHEMIAN M Lawler; J McNamara, R Burke, R White, T Rafferty; S Airey, C Miller; P Poillot, J Bennett, V O’Regan, S Boyle, E Kelly capt, K Moore, I Condell, E Sweeney.
Rolling replacements: C Flanagan, J Moloney, C Dodd, J Codyre, D Farrell, F Ryan, C Ryan.
Referee: K Imbush (IRFU).