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Garryowen Aiming To Make AIB League Proud

Garryowen Aiming To Make AIB League Proud

When Garryowen blazed a glory trail through domestic competitions last season, their coach was Paul Cunningham. But when the club travels to France next Sunday to represent Ireland in the Languedoc-Roussillon tournament, Cunningham will, in his own words, travel as ‘the bag man.’

Having handed over the coaching reins to technical director Greg Oliver and head coach Darragh O’Sullivan, Cunningham will be involved in a backroom capacity for the unique international club tournament which will run from September 3 to 15 to coincide with France’s hosting of the World Cup.

Six teams will take part in the competition – Garryowen, as the reigning Division One champions, Tucuman (Argentina), Romania, Catalonia (Spain) and Cambridge University from England as well as the hosts Languedoc-Roussillon.

Ahead of the tournament, Cunningham told IrishRugby.ie: “We will be without our Munster squad players but we will still be bringing a strong side to what could be a most interesting tournament.”

Garryowen have recruited a number of new players for the new season including Lorcan Bourke and Dave Ryan from Old Crescent.

“We will also have the assistance of Barry O’Mahony who previously played for UCC and who is a huge prospect. His father Gerry is a former successful club captain,” Cunningham added.

The 21-year-old Barry looks an astute signing by the Limerick club. He played in Munster Schools Junior and Senior Cup finals with Crescent Comprehensive and two season in the Munster Schools team, captaining the side during the 2004/05 season. He toured Australia with the Ireland Schools squad and has also lined out for the Ireland Under-19s – at the World Cup in South Africa – and the Munster Under-21s.

Barry’s father Gerry won a Munster Senior Cup medal with Garryowen in 1979 when Pat Whelan was captain. In the 1981/82 season he captained Garryowen to their first Munster Senior League title for 28 years. The team included current Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan and was coached by Pat Whelan. They beat a UCC team which included Brian Spillane and Donal Lenihan by 19-16 in the final.

Cunningham admits to not knowing a great deal about Garryowen’s opponents for the Languedoc-Roussillon tournament. But he hopes to get a briefing on the team from Argentina. “They are sure to be very strong but all the other sides are sure to provide us with some headaches,” he admitted.

“We’ve been back in training for two or three weeks and we had a useful friendly against Waterloo last Saturday. Hopefully we can do the AIB League proud over the course of the tournament. It is a tough schedule for amateur teams with games on September 4, 7, 11 and 14.”

The Languedoc-Roussillon region is one of the heartlands of French rugby and is home to some of the great clubs, both past and present, such as Toulouse, Montpellier, Beziers and Narbonne.

Garryowen’s Languedoc-Roussillon Tournament Fixture List:

September 4: Selection of Languedoc-Roussillon v Garryowen, Limoux, 5.30pm

September 7: Garryowen v Romania, Saint-Chinian, 6pm

September 11: Garryowen v Tucuman, Gard, kick-off TBC

The tournament final will be held on September 14 in the new Yves du Manoir Stadium in Montpellier.