The promotion battle from Division 1B of the Ulster Bank League intensified on Saturday with just four points now separating the top four teams.
Galwegians’ home defeat to a resurgent Shannon saw their lead over second placed Ballymena reduced to a point with Garryowen only one adrift after coming from 10-3 behind to beat Buccaneers at Dooradoyle 28-20.
Garryowen started and finished the first half with long range penalties by Jamie Gavin but in between Buccs led with a penalty try converted by Callum Boland who also kicked penalty.
The hosts turned the tables in the second half and went ahead on the hour mark with a fine try in the corner by Alex Wootton after scrum-half Neil Cronin’s terrific break.
A third Gavin penalty stretched their advantage before tries by Steve McMahon and Ed Rossiter, both converted by Gavin, pushed them 28-10 clear.
Steve McVeigh and Rory O’Connor had tries for the visitors in the dying minutes but they were out of luck when Boland’s conversion attempt from the latter score came back off a post to deny them a losing bonus point.
Garryowen player coach Conan Doyle is optimistic about the remainder of the campaign. “When you think we were 11 points behind Galwegians only three rounds ago, we have to be happy at how things are going.
“We made too many mistakes early on but there was a different momentum in the second half. The ball carrying of Shane Buckley and the work of the pack was terrific and then there is the luxury of having probably the two best scrum-halves in the league in Neilly Cronin and Jamie Glynn. We were able to interchange the two of them and even moved Jamie to the centre for a while. Choosing between the two of them is a nice headache to have.”
GARRYOWEN: L Bourke; A Wooton, A O’Byrne, C Doyle, J McInerney; J Gavin, J Glynn; P O’Shea, E Rossiter, B Rowley, P McCarroll, A McCluskey, S Buckley, J Hrstich, D Sherry capt.
Rolling replacements: J M Griffin, B McNamara, M Hanrahan, N Cronin, S McMahon.
BUCCANEERS: S Leyden; A Gaughan, D Butler, C Finn, E O’Reilly; C Boland, G O’Connor; J Walshe, S Delahunt, M Staunton, D Qualter, J Tormey, M Fifita, R Moloney, K Kiripati.
Rolling replacements: G Halligan, S Meunargia, A Hayman, S McVeigh, R O’Connor.
Referee: N Correll (IRFU).