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Sparse attendance and no joy for Garryowen

By Pat Reidy
ANOTHER really sparse attendance at Dooradoyle on Saturday afternoon last witnessed a quick start by the home side that opportunistically garnered fourteen points within the opening five minutes. However, that’s as good as it got for
Garryowen F.C as a more skilful Dublin University RFC eventually took control of the game and were pushing hard for a winning bonus point late on.
The light blues will be very disappointed with their contribution to the game in the wake of the good opening phase and it was their poorest display in the AIL this term. Continuing lineout issues abound, handling accuracy was equally an issue. Despite the good initial impetus Garryowen trailed 14-17 by the twenty sixth minute. An ironic cheer arose from the Garryowen faithful on twenty nine minutes as referee Gaffikin awarded their team their first penalty of the tie. Mirth aside, the referee had spoken to Garryowen captain Neil Cronin three times by that juncture.
Prior to the awarding the penalty count was 0-7 against the homesters and not for the first time this campaign. This negative pattern needs to be addressed quickly as it can skew the referee’s perception of the game, rightly or wrongly.
Garryowen battled well in fairness, but a gulf in class was clearly evident. Forrays into ‘College’ territory were too infrequent and spoiled by spillages and poor decision making. A trip to UCD is the next port of call for Garryowen this Saturday, at 2.30 pm at the Belfield Bowl.This team’s two previous trips to the capital this season produced two fine displays, including a win at Old Belvedere RFC. A return to that kind of form will be necessary if something of substance is to be gained from the trip for all concerned, team, mentors and supporters alike. A shock to the system this, for Garryowen’s younger players in particular, who have performed admirably this season, a rapid return to early season AIL form will be sought.
Garryowen led just two minutes in, Neil Cronin hacked on a loose ball from half way, Blues number eight Bailey Faloon carried it on and from the ensuing ruck, Neil Cronin put Niall Horan in for a try. Cronin kicked a brilliant touch line conversion to complete the score. Within five minutes of play it was 14-0, again a loose ball on or about half way, Peader Collins got his hands on it and sprinted clear, the tap over conversion from Cronin made it 14-0. It was an impressive start, albeit slightly fortuitous. We were of course not to know at that point that Garryowen would not score for the remaining seventy five minutes, and in reality, rarely looked like doing so.
Trinity commenced their gradual gripping of the game on eight minutes, when in their first forray of note, Tom Ryan strolled in under the posts for a try, Jack Mc Dermott converted for 7-14. The move that led to the score was expedited by Garryowen losing a lineout on their own 22’. Just past the quarter hour mark, McDermott added a
penalty, as the count against Garryowen mounted yet again, now 10-14. The recovery was complete on twenty six minutes. The Dubliners’ Pierce Dargan barged over, McDermott added the extras, 14-17 to “College” who now comfortably controlled the game.
The only light relief on the day occurred on twenty two minutes, when during a break in play, a Trinity player asked the referee the status of the stopped clock in the Garryowen grounds, which at that point displayed a playing time elapsed of just 1 minute and 27 seconds. Those in close attendance enjoyed the little humour, even a stopped clock is right twice a day, it is said.
The winners stretched it out to 14-20 with another McDermott penalty kick, just two minutes into the second half. With fifty seven minutes played Trinity added the coup de grace, Colm Hogan darted under the posts, Mc Dermott converted. The score was now 14-27 and the points were secure, only the margin remained in doubt. Garryowen rallied from time to time, but executed poorly on occasion, and kicked an attacking penalty dead, that summed up their day to some degree. Just once really did they threaten the winners line, Liam Coombes going close.
A lot to focus on then for the Dooradoyle lads as they face another trip to the capital.
Garryowen lined out as follows: 15. David Johnson 14. James Frawley 13. Peader Collins 12. Andrew O’Byrne 11. Liam Coombes 10. Jamie Gavin 9. Neil Cronin {captain}. 1. Niall Horan 2. Eamon Costello 3. Mike O’Donnell 4. Bara O’Byrne 5. Sean O’Connor 6.Elliot Fitzgerald 7. Conor Oliver 8. Bailey Faloon. Replacements: 16. Caolan Moloney 17. Jack Mullany 18. Dara Shanahan 19. Hugh O’Brien- Cunningham 20. Sam Arnold.
Referee: Stuart Gaffikin, IRFU.

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