Garryowen made the most of difficult conditions to triumph over Blackrock College with a vengeful 16-6 victory in the quarter-finals of the AIB Cup on Saturday afternoon.
AIB CUP QUARTER-FINAL: Saturday, November 21
BLACKROCK COLLEGE 6 GARRYOWEN 16, Stradbrook
Scorers: Blackrock College: Pens: James Power 2
Garryowen: Try: Robert Meyer; Con: Conor Murray; Pens: Conor Murray 3
It was a different story the last time these sides met at Stradbrook. Garryowen took a hefty thumping at the hands of Blackrock, going down 48-14 and they were subjected to a torrent of blitzing runs from the superb ‘Rock back-line, so this must have been a nice piece of retribution for Paul Cunningham’s side.
The wet and windy weather that preceded the game meant that the pitch was in no great shape, ensuring a fierce battle up front with an increased amount of errors.
Blackrock were slightly hampered with selection issues as Leinster’s British & Irish Cup fixture against Plymouth ensured that young guns like Andrew Conway, Brendan Macken and Niall Morris were missing for the hosts.
On a day like this, organisation was key and Garryowen were certainly the more organised outfit in the first half, with their forwards taking control at the scrum and the breakdown.
However, every time they got themselves into a good position in the Blackrock 22, Garryowen were left frustrated by a couple of untimely errors and simply could not apply the finishing touches.
The home side were not given much breathing space throughout the match. They did make a rare break which threatened the visitors’ line, yet indiscipline ultimately cost them at the vital moments.
Despite missing three first half penalties, Garryowen were clearly in the ascendancy and they soon began to rack up the points.
A Conor Murray penalty had the Limerick men 3-0 up going into half-time, and the first try of the match came 13 minutes into the second half.
‘Rock were trying to clear their lines when Garryowen hooker Robert Meyer managed to intercept a pass and dive over for a try under the posts. Murray converted and added two penalties to put further daylight between the teams.
Blackrock number 10 James Power managed to mount a comeback of sorts by slotting two penalties of his own, however Garryowen, with some great defensive work, did well to soak up the little pressure that they were confronted with.
After an assured third round victory over St. Mary’s College, this win, which sees Garryowen through to the semi-final stage for an incredible fourth time in five years, will surely help build their confidence after a rough start to the AIB League.
* Two of Saturday’s AIB Cup quarter-finals – Cork Constitution v Queen’s University and Dolphin v Galwegians – were postponed due to waterlogged pitches. The draw for the AIB Cup semi-finals will be made on RTE’s Sportsbag programme on 2FM on Sunday morning.