Limerick rivals Garryowen and UL Bohemians served up the veritable game of two halves in Saturday’s rip-roaring Division One derby clash at Dooradoyle.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION ONE: Saturday, January 31
GARRYOWEN 20 UL BOHEMIANS 18, Dooradoyle
Scorers: Garryowen: Tries: Willie Staunton, Conor Hartigan; Cons: Conor Kilroy 2; Pens: Conor Kilroy 2
UL Bohemians: Tries: Paul Grennell, Mark Doyle; Con: Aidan McNulty; Pens: Aidan McNulty 2
When Garryowen sept into a 20-0 interval lead, it looked bleak for a visiting Bohs side that managed to beat former table toppers Clontarf seven days ago.
But UL staged a remarkable comeback – highlighted by a superb late try by teenager Mark Doyle – and while they picked up a losing bonus point in the end, they will be disappointed not to have finished level.
The introduction of Chris Delooze at scrum half made a huge difference to the visitors’ performance.
Indeed, in the second half, persistent pressure from UL looked like bringing a try about but Colman Finn was held up over the line and Garryowen forced a turnover and the danger was cleared.
Then in the last two minutes, winger Doyle scorched through for his try when he bobbed and weaved past several defenders before crossing the whitewash.
However, with the score at 20-18, Aidan McNulty failed to add a conversion which would have capped off an amazing comeback.
Garryowen, who have not been beaten in the league since October, dominated the first half and they led inside two minutes when Willie Staunton burst through for a try which Conor Kilroy converted.
Full-back Kilroy, the goal-kicking hero in last week’s win at Terenure, then landed two penalties to make it 13-0 before flanker Conor Hartigan grabbed a second seven-pointer for the home side, leaving them 20-0 ahead at half-time.
The UL comeback started when Paul Grennell muscled over for a try which McNulty converted.
Bohs piled on the pressure with two McNulty penalties and then Doyle’s last-gasp try, which the unfortunate McNulty failed to convert from a relatively easy position.