Ulster Bank League Division 1A
Young Munster took another giant step towards Ulster Bank All-Ireland honours at Dooradoyle last night when they proved much too strong for Garryowen in a hard-fought Limerick “derby”.
Though they had to wait until the last play of the game to register their fourth try and a precious bonus point, this was by any standards a very commendable performance by Garóid Prendergast’s well-coached squad.
From the outset, the considerably greater strength of the “Munsters” pack meant there could be only one outcome, even if the youthful Garryowen side fought with determination and somehow managed to turn over leading by 13-10.
However, they hardly entered enemy territory at any stage of the second half and only desperate defending saved them time and time again.
A succession of scrum penalties in the early stages emphasised Munsters supremacy up front and, within as many minutes, they were 10 points in front with a penalty by Alan Tynan, who added the points to a penalty try awarded when Garryowen were ruthlessly sent back pedalling over their own line.
To their credit, the home side stuck gamely to their task, with scrum-half and captain Neilly Cronin performing heroics in extremely difficult circumstances. He wriggled over for a try after 25 minutes and converted himself, before adding a couple of penalties to leave Garryowen 13-10 ahead at the break.
However, the longer the game went on, the greater the Young Munster supremacy became. They regained the lead with a try by prop Colm Skehan after a rolling maul and Tynan converted.
Ulster referee David Wilkinson despatched Shane Fenton of Munsters and Garryowen’s Timothy Ferguson to the bin for technical offences and Tynan punished the latter indiscretion with a penalty to stretch his side’s lead to 20-13.
After that it was one way traffic. A lovely little grubber kick by Tynan set up a third Munsters try for winger Michael Vaughan and six minutes into stoppage time the pressure told as Cian Bohane touched down the vital fourth try converted by Tynan, sending the team’s large and vocal followers home in good voice.
The game was notable for the return after long-term injury of former schools star Bill Johnston at out-half for Garryowen and he performed very impressively. And with another Tipperaryman, Tynan, shining in the number 10 jersey for Munsters, it was the kind of game that can only do a lot of good for two of the most promising young talents in Munster.
A O’Byrne; P Collins, H O’Brien-Cunningham, D McCarthy, L Coombes; B Johnston, N Cronin; N Horan, D Barron, B McNamara, M Wilson, T Ferguson, J Keane, D Shanahan, B Falloon. Rolling replacements – C Moloney, M O’Donnell, B O’Byrne, F Van Vuuren, J Gavin.
S Airey; C O’Hanlon, J Harrington, C Bohane, M Vaughan; A Tynan, A Griesel; D Begley, G Slattery, C Sheehan, T Goggin, S Duggan capt, A Kennedy, D Walsh, D Ryan. Rolling replacements – S Fenton, G Ryan, A Ross, S Rennison, R Guerin.
D Wilkinson (IRFU).
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