Garryowen pushed a point clear at the top of Division 1A following a comprehensive 32-20 win over UCC at a sundrenched Dooradoyle.
ENERGIA MEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, October 9
GARRYOWEN 32 UCC 20, Dooradoyle
Scorers: Garryowen: Tries: Colm Quilligan 2, Pat O’Toole, Tommy O’Hora, Jamie Shanahan; Cons: Tony Butler 2; Pen: Tony Butler
UCC: Tries: Louis Bruce, Matthew Bowen; Cons: Darragh French, Joe O’Leary; Pens: Darragh French 2
HT: Garryowen 10 UCC 10
Tries from Colm Quilligan (2), Pat O’Toole, Tommy O’Hora and Jamie Shanahan saw the Light Blues make it back-to-back bonus point victories.
UCC responded with five pointers from Louis Bruce and replacement Matthew Bowen.
It was College who opened the scoring in the fourth minute when Darragh French effortlessly slotted a penalty from 40 metres out.
However, Garryowen were soon in front when hooker O’Toole dotted down after a power-packed lineout maul from the hosts.
That advantage was doubled in the 15th minute after a loose pass from French was seized upon by Garryowen centre Jack Delaney.
He brilliantly eased through a couple of would-be tackles before freeing his arms and offloading to O’Hora. The pacy winger went through the gears to go in for their second try, leaving his side 10-3 to the good.
UCC slowly grew into the contest with Munster flanker John Hodnett, who was getting valuable game-time in his return from an Achilles injury, and captain Jack Kelleher helping them into the home 22.
A deft grubber kick from out-half French was timed perfectly to see centre Bruce score their opening try. French then added the extras to square things up for half-time.
Both teams took time to get going after the break but eventually Garryowen began to take control and went ahead once more in the 48th minute.
Shanahan and Quilligan combined down the right before the latter kicked in behind the UCC defence. Mark McLoughlin collected but his attempted clearance was blocked by Quilligan who went in behind the posts for Tony Butler to convert.
French cut the gap to four points with his second penalty of the afternoon, only for Mike Sherry’s men to up the tempo again and score a fourth try.
After Delaney’s initial break, his centre partner Bryan Fitzgerald glided past two defenders on the right wing and his well-timed pass put Quilligan away for the bonus point score.
Butler’s conversion stretched their advantage to 24-13, and the talented Clare youngster then tagged on a penalty.
Just after the hour mark, Garryowen’s replacement scrum half Aaron Cosgrave went left from a five-metre scrum and Shanahan grounded the ball despite Luke Kerr’s cover tackle.
UCC scored a consolation try via a quick tap. The returning Bowen showed his pace by surging clear from inside his own half, but it was still a sizeable 12-point winning margin for the in-form Light Blues.
GARRYOWEN: Jamie Shanahan; Colm Quilligan, Bryan Fitzgerald, Jack Delaney, Tommy O’Hora; Tony Butler, Edmond Barry; Mark Donnelly, Pat O’Toole, Darragh McCarthy, Paddy Kelly, Kevin Seymour (capt), Tim Ferguson, Johnny Keane, Alan Fitzgerald.
Replacements: Dylan Murphy, Jack Mullany, Roy Whelan, Aaron Cosgrove, Hugh O’Brien-Cunningham, Jack Madden.
UCC: Mark McLoughlin; Joe O’Leary, Louis Bruce, Daniel Squires, Timothy Duggan; Darragh French, Luke Kerr; Alessandro Heaney, Billy Kingston, Corey Hanlon, Edwin Edogbo, Mark Bissessar, Jack Kelleher (capt), Ronan Barry, John Hodnett.
Replacements: Harry Jephson, Alan McDonald, Sam O’Sullivan, Jack O’Sullivan, Cian Bohane, Matthew Bowen.