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Hurrah!! Garryowen survive for another tilt at 1A

By Pat Reidy
HARDLY vintage stuff or a classic in Dooradoyle last Saturday in front a very good attendance but ‘needs must’ in AIL play-off games where survival is the key. Garryowen were the better side all through only late on did their penchant for not putting teams away cause them a few anxious moments in a game where the gulf between Division 1A and 1B was as evident as it had been in the Garryowen v Old Wesley clash the previous Sunday.
Equally evident now is the chasm between the upper and lower echelons of Division 1A where Garryowen found themselves at the business end of the campaign. To prosper in future seasons, the ongoing issues in the pack must be addressed though the fact that so many of their younger players were “blooded” in this campaign will give them cause for hope.
UL Bohemian were plucky and wily but a little light in key areas and not at all equipped to take on Division 1A,t hough they will always feature as promotion contenders in Division 1B.
Garryowen will be relieved that a trying season has concluded with survival. They led 8-3 at the interval having faced a stiff breeze and coped well enough for most of the time with UL Bohemian’s off-loading game in addition to constantly disrupting the Robins’ lineout strategy. The home side should have put the game to bed in the third quarter, that they didn’t will disappoint them, if not surprise them as this recurring theme was a facet of their season long battle to maintain top division status.
UL Bohemians were very much to the fore early on but failed to land a blow of significance missing a fifteenth minute penalty. Garryowen took the lead through a Neil Cronin penalty on 23 minutes, equalised by UL Bohemian’s Rick Mc Kenna five minutes later. A half hour in Garryowen did land a blow of significance, a terrific sequence of handling put Steve Mc Mahon in space 40 metres out as he had done last week, he bobbed and weaved and ran clear to touch down for his fourth try in as many games. The conversion attempt hit the upright.
Garryowen were dominating the early stages of the second half and endeavouring to build on their 8-3 half time lead. Another Neil Cronin penalty moved it on to 11-3 three minutes into the half, UL Bohemians RFC through McKenna reduced that to 11-6 approaching fifty minutes. The key score arrived a few moments later. Garryowen were working hard close in and they got the reward with a converted try that saw them lead 18-6. David Johnson got the touchdown and Cronin tapped over the simple two pointer. It looked like they would kick on from there but the lack of killer instinct yet again prevailed as they consistently wasted possession and territory.
Eight minutes to go,the “light blues” had a man binned and UL Bohemian took full advantage with a try on 75 minutes by Colin Ryan, converted by Mc Kenna. The conversion made it 18-13 and there was a buzz in Dooradoyle for the first time. For the most part Garryowen were defending far up the field following the subsequent restart, but yet again gave their opponents hope by infringing on their own put in. UL Bohemians kicked to touch to commence the last play but Garryowen again pilfered the lineout and the last act of a long season witnessed Garryowen’s captain and most influential player Neil Cronin kicking the ball from the field.
Garryowen FC: 15. Liam Coombes 14. Steve Mc Mahon 13. Sam Arnold 12. Dave Mc Carthy 11. Andrew O’Byrne 10. David Johnson 9. Neil Cronin; 1. Niall Horan 2. Diarmuid Barron 3. J.P.Phelan 4. Sean O’Connor 5. Bara O’Byrne 6. Tim Ferguson 7. Mikey Wilson 8. Bailey Faloon. Replacements: 16. Eamonn Costelloe 17. Mike O’Donnell 18. Johnny Keane 19. Hugh O’Brien Cunningham 20. Ronan O’Halloran 21. Barry Mc Namara 22. Peader Collins.
UL Bohemians RFC:15. Joe Murray 14. Cian Aherne 13. Harry Fleming 12. Rick Mc Kenna 11. Colin Ryan 10. Robbie Burke 9. James Lennon; 1. Joey Conway 2. Joe Bennett 3. Michael Lynch 4. Dara Frawley 5. Noel Kinane 6. James Ryan 7. Ian Condell {captain} 8. Brian Walsh. Replacements: 16. Ed Kelly 17. Pauric Nesbitt 18. Peter King 19. Pat Staff 20 Finnbarr Aherne 21. Rory White 22. Rob Hennessey.
Referee, Gary Conway. Touch judges, Kieran Barry and Ken Imbusch.
Editor: A deserving mention of those dedicated few light blue fans who built up considerable road and rail miles over the AIL campaign this season, attending all, or most, of their side’s games home and away.

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