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Temple Hill Triumph for Con

Temple Hill Triumph for Con

It ended with two tries from Garryowen in the closing stages but they came at a time when Con had already wrapped up the match and ensured themselves a trip to Lansdowne Road for the AIB League final.

It was victory (43-17) that Con richly deserved for an outstanding team performance and they will take a lot of beating in the final. Good news from a Munster point of view was the perfomance of players in the pack like Jim Williams, Mick O’Driscoll, Donnacha O’Callaghan and hooker Frankie Sheahan who had no difficulty finding his jumpers in the lineout. Behind them O’Gara controlled matters thanks to a good feed from his scrum half Brian O’Meara.

Conor Mahony opened the scoring for the home side after just six minutes and it was almost 30 minutes before that that lead was extended when Ronan O’Gara landed an easy penalty in the 34th minute. Garryowen struck back almost immediately when lock John O’Sullivan popped up in the left wing position, took Dominic Crotty’s pass and crashed over for the try. However con responded in the best possible way with a well worked try of their own. O’Gara had dropped into the pocket to cover for the injured Brian Walsh . He took aGarryowen clearance and found touch three metres from the visitor’s line. Frankie Sheahan was inch perfect with his throw to Donncha O’Callaghan, then took the pop pass and made valuable yardage in a move that ended with a try for Ultan O’Callaghan. O’Gara converted for a 15-5 lead.,p>Early in the second half Garryowen suffered a major blow when referee Alan Lewis yellow-carded Paul Neville for persistent offside and O’Gara added the points from the subsequent penalty (18-5). It looked to be all over in the 50th when Cian Mahony made good ground into the Garryowen 22, found the superb O’Callaghan in support but the Con captain lost control of the ball in the action of touching down. But at this stage Con were exerting a steel like grip on the game. Garryowen sent on David Wallace instead of Neville but before he could even think of breaking sweat, the game was over. Donnacha O’Callaghan made the hard yards from a short penalty, O’Meara swept the ball to Cian Mahony and he twisted his way over close to the posts (25-5). O’Gara added a 40 metre penalty (59th min) and from the restart Ultan O’Callaghan was injured to be replaced by Joey Sheahan and Garryowen were again reduced to fourteen, this time replacement Eoin Kelly earning a yellow card for a dangerous challenge on Donnacha O’Callaghan.

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Con were now in total control. John picked up a loose ball on his own 22 and raced home from there. Then it was Derek Dillon’s turn to score, he benefitting from good work first by Jim Williams and then Brian O’Meara to score wide on the right.

Garryowen struck back with tries from David Wallace and Dominic Crotty but by then it was definitely a question of too little too late.