Young Munster see off Garryowen to boost play-off hopes

A general view of a rugby ball. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
A general view of a rugby ball. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Young Munster held off a late home surge to secure a precious victory on Garryowen soil, putting the Cookies firmly into the play-off position in Division 1A of the All Ireland League.

The 11-8 scoreline was a reflection of both the defensive effort but also the weather on display.

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Played in driving wind and constant rain, the game was scrappy throughout, but the victors built a lead which the Light Blues were unable to overhaul.

Scrum-time was hotly contested while Cork referee Richard Horgan made use of his yellow card on five occasions. Jack Harrington scored took advantage of Jack Staffords sin-binning when running in the opening try in first half stoppage time.

This five-pointer added to an early penalty from Evan Cusack, as the hosts conceded 12 first half penalties. This stat was reversed in the second half but not before Cusack stretched the lead.

Out-half Cusack made it 11-0 from the tee just three minutes into the second half. Having played for Thomond in 2C last season, he has become assured from the tee this season this proved to be a crucial score.

The game had a lengthy stoppage due to a serious looking injury to Conor Fitzgerald on his own try-line. With play halted for 10 minutes, Garryowen survived another yellow card and the scoreline remained the same.

A spell of dominance from Conan Doyle’s side saw them awarded seven consecutive penalties, with the bulk for scrum infringements. With Keynan Knox sent to the bin, Garryowen eventually coughed up possession, which was greeted by hugh roars from those in yellow and black.

But Garryowen didn’t go away and in the 85th minute, with at further six minutes to play, their newly found dominance in the scrum was rewarded with a penalty try. The four point lead was managed well by Young Munster, as Alan Tynan kicked to the corner and Garryowen were unable to escape.

The result means a victory apiece in the local derbies, as Garryowen secured the four points in Tom Clifford Park, earlier this season. Despite a first defeat in 2020, following four victories, Garryowen will remain second, enjoying a comfortable advantage over third placed UCD.

For Gearoid Prendergast’s side, they secure a fourth win on the bounce and move into the top four spots, temporarily at least. Their form has been on an upward trajectory after a tricky start to the season.

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