By beating Shannon in a first round encounter at Coonagh on Saturday, they have created the chance to avenge those bitterly disappointing losses with these age-old rivals set to meet in the next round of the famous competition.
Garryowen head coach Conan Doyle has been “double jobbing” as his team’s enforced number 10 this campaign because of injury to a couple of regular out-halves but he himself is currently laid low by a shoulder knock so he watched the action from the touchline on Saturday.
“Taking on Shannon on their home ground at Coonagh was always going to be a good test,” he acknowledged.
“But the Munster Cup means an awful lot to us and we were never going to roll over easily. We spoke about the importance of the cup to the club at the beginning of the season, especially because of what has happened in each of the last two finals. We had a few changes for this game, a lot of guys got their chances and took it, notably Kieran Bennett who celebrated his first game with a try. As always, though, our captain Josh Hrstich was outstanding. He is a terrific back-row forward.”
New Zealander Hrstich scored the first of Garryowen’s two first-half tries, the second coming from Bennett along with a conversion by Neil Cronin.
Shannon head coach Marcus Horan must have been very frustrated to see his side turn over no better than on level terms, 12 points apiece, for his youngsters had dominated the exchanges territorially. They relied on four penalties from Tadhg Bennett.
Cronin moved Garryowen ahead with a penalty 10 minutes after the restart before a splendid try by out-half Andrew O’Byrne, converted by Cronin, a quarter of an hour from the end stretched their advantage to 10 points. Shannon’s last chance evaporated when Bennett went over for a try but it was ruled out for an earlier infringement as Garryowen moved into next month’s quarter-finals.
J Frawley; K Bennett, J McInerney, J Purcell, H O’Brien-Cunningham; A O’Byrne, N Cronin; B McNamara, JM Griffin, JP Phelan; A McCluskey, M Hanrahan; E Fitzgerald, J Kavanagh, J Hrstich.
L Cronin, B Rowley, P O’Shea, L McMahon, K McInerney, E Barry, R O’Halloran.
R McKenna; R Mullane, S Monahan, W Leonard, R Hunt; T Bennett, D Evans; C Glynn, L O’Halloran, T Cusack; S McCarthy, A Broderick; B Downey, J Vaughan, L Nicholas.
S Malone, J O’Halloran, J Cronin, J Foley, K Brown, N Fitzgerald, T Tobin.
K Barry (MAR).