Connacht winger Peter Sullivan chipped in with two tries as Lansdowne bounced back with an impressive 29-5 victory over Garryowen at Dooradoyle.
ENERGIA MEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, November 27
GARRYOWEN 5 LANSDOWNE 29, Dooradoyle
Scorers: Garryowen: Try: Colm Quilligan
Lansdowne: Tries: Sean Galvin, Luke Thompson, Peter Sullivan 2; Pens: Charlie Tector 3
HT: Garryowen 5 Lansdowne 13
Mark McHugh’s men remain second in Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A, two points behind leaders Clontarf and five ahead of a resurgent Cork Constitution side.
Colm Quilligan’s fourth try of the campaign was all Garryowen could muster as they disappointingly fell to their third straight defeat in the top flight.
Despite facing into a strong wind, Lansdowne dominated possession and territory in the first half to open up a 13-point lead.
Garryowen created the first opportunity, spinning the ball wide to in-form winger Quilligan but he was bundled into touch by a combination of Eamonn Mills and Sullivan.
The Light Blues also pressed with a maul on the opposite wing, before Mark Boyle cleared the danger for Lansdowne with a well-won penalty at the breakdown.
A James Kenny break that ended with a fumble brought the visitors up to the Garryowen 22, and it was a scrum penalty apiece before Tim Ferguson and Roy Whelan stole two Lansdowne lineouts.
Tony Butler threatened from a kick over the top before his opposite number, Charlie Tector, sent a penalty to the left and wide, 18 minutes in.
The Lansdowne out-half was given another opportunity moments later from inside the Garryowen 22 after a dangerous tackle by Bryan Fitzgerald. This time he nailed the kick for a 3-0 lead.
Things got better for Lansdowne on 26 minutes thanks to Sullivan’s first try. Scrum half Kenny’s smart kick over the top saw Sean Galvin force Garryowen flanker Tim Ferguson into touch, inside the hosts’ 22.
Clive Ross won the lineout and when the ball went wide it went to ground, but a kick on the fly by centre Corey Reid was seized upon by Sullivan to score in the left corner.
Try number two followed for Lansdowne just a minute later, Sullivan collecting Butler’s restart and brilliantly jinking away from a couple of would-be tacklers before passing inside to Jack Dwan.
The big second row then found Thompson on his left shoulder and the hooker sped clear from Garryowen’s 10-metre line to score Lansdowne’s second unconverted score in quick succession.
After Tector’s conversion attempt went narrowly wide, Garryowen’s response was a strong one. Qulligan got on the scoresheet after some patient attacking from the home side.
The young winger showed great feet to initially beat Sullivan on the 22 and then power through two more tackles to dot down in the right corner, cutting Lansdowne’s advantage to 13-5 for half-time.
Although a Sean Rennison turnover penalty had Garryowen pressing late on before the break, they misfired at two lineouts with Dwan pinching the second one.
Neither team managed to get a hold of the game during a tight third quarter, yet Garryowen continued to pressurise the Lansdowne lineout into errors and the sides exchanged scrum penalties.
It was tit-for-tat in the scrums, Mike Sherry’s charges winning one against the head and then centre Jack Delaney burst through from halfway only for a costly penalty to allow Lansdowne to clear.
An excellent touchfinder from Mills, coupled with a successful Lansdowne lineout, paved the way for Tector to break the deadlock with a 42-metre penalty after Garryowen had failed to roll away.
Any hope of a Garryowen win disappeared on 63 minutes. Fitzgerald’s powerful run had the hosts prowling on the Lansdowne 10-metre line, only for lock Whelan to have the ball pinched from under his nose.
Galvin did really well to swoop in and gather it, sprinting clear from 55 metres out for an opportunist try in the right corner. It went unconverted at 21-5, Tector’s kick falling just short.
There were missed opportunities at both ends, Garryowen being forced into touch from a promising lineout drive, while Tector was off target with a penalty following good work at the breakdown by replacement Daniel Murphy.
The Lansdowne pack followed up by winning a huge scrum against the head, the resulting penalty pinning Garryowen back. Yet, the well-organised home defence forced a knock-on shortly afterwards.
Just when Garryowen were building a threatening attack thanks to an Evan Maher break, possession went to ground again and Sullivan scooted clear to seal a 75th-minute bonus point.
Lansdowne kept the Limerick men try-less with some robust maul defence and after Fitzgerald agonisingly failed to hold onto a scoring pass, Lansdowne were able to put more points on the board.
It came from another charge downfield from a kick chase, Garryowen infringed at ruck time and Tector supplied the closing penalty goal from straight in front.
GARRYOWEN: Jamie Heuston; Colm Quilligan, Bryan Fitzgerald, Jack Delaney, Jamie Shanahan; Tony Butler, Ed Barry; Mark Donnelly, Dylan Murphy, Darragh McCarthy, Roy Whelan, Kevin Seymour (capt), Tim Ferguson, Dan Feasey, Sean Rennison.
Replacements: Larry Kelly, Niall Horan, Alan fitzgerald, Evan Maher, Tommy O’Hora, Jack Madden.
LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills; Sean Galvin, Andy Marks, Corey Reid, Peter Sullivan; Charlie Tector, James Kenny; Frank Kavanagh, Luke Thompson, JJ Hession, Joey Szpara, Jack Dwan, Clive Ross, Jack O’Sullivan (capt), Mark Boyle.
Replacements: Jamie Kavanagh, Ben Popplewell, Daniel Murphy, Ruairi Clarke, Jack Matthews, Peter Hastie.