Dublin University surged straight to the top of Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 1A courtesy of a barnstorming eight-try display at a windy Dooradoyle.
ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE MEN’S DIVISION 1A: Saturday, October 1
GARRYOWEN 14 DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 50, Dooradoyle
Scorers: Garryowen: Try: Bryan Fitzgerald; Pens: Tony Butler 3
Dublin University: Tries: Aran Egan 3, Colm Hogan 2, Ronan Quinn, Diarmuid McCormack, James Dillon; Cons: Aran Egan 5
HT: Garryowen 6 Dublin University 12
Tony Smeeth’s youngsters, who included seven AIL debutants, ran out 50-14 winners over Garryowen with excellent out-half Aran Egan helping himself to a hat-trick of tries and 25 points in all.
Egan’s opposite number, Munster Academy player Tony Butler, kicked three penalties for the Light Blues who had a late consolation try from centre Bryan Fitzgerald.
Butler’s place-kicking had the home side just 12-6 behind at half-time, and it was a three-point game until Trinity went up through the gears to run out comprehensive winners of this first round clash.
Among the newcomers in the Trinity selection were Ireland Under-19 hooker Conall Henchy, Max Dunne and Paddy McCarthy. Dunne is the younger brother of former Leinster lock Jack, while McCarthy’s elder sibling, Joe, is currently on tour with Emerging Ireland.
Garryowen’s first attacking opportunity was spoiled by a lineout steal from Anthony Ryan, while Ulster Academy forward Harry Sheridan also won turnover ball from an early maul effort from the hosts.
The Limerick men continued to dominate in terms of territory, but a costly knock-on from scrum half Evan Maher, just a few metres out, lifted the pressure off the Trinity defence.
The students began to make inroads following Colm Hogan’s sharp run off a kick return. Egan drew a penalty for a high tackle and following solid carrying from his forwards, the number 10 threw a dummy and showed good strength to score in the right corner.
The tricky conversion was nailed by Egan for a 7-0 scoreline, and as the wind began to grow stronger in Garryowen’s favour, a throw from Max Clein went awry as they emerged scoreless from another visit to the Trinity 22.
Egan pushed a penalty wide as a strong scrum from the visitors went unrewarded, and he overcooked a touchfinder from a penalty during a first half of limited scoring chances.
Garryowen built some momentum with a Johnny Keane turnover near halfway and then a pacy break up the left wing involving Jamie Shanahan and Fitzgerald. However, the pass back inside went to ground.
Butler gave them the points that their endeavour deserved past the half hour mark. Teenage debutant Brian Gleeson had a good carry before a scrum penalty allowed Butler to close the gap to 7-3.
The early season errors continued from both sides, but Trinity showed their clinical edge when full-back Hogan reached over for a try from close range, following the hard yards made by both Gavin Jones and the newly-introduced McCarthy.
The Light Blues continued to have trouble securing their own lineout ball, but Butler, from outside the Trinity 10-metre line, punished an offside to halve the deficit just in time for the interval.
The Ennis RFC product booted his third penalty inside the opening minutes of the second half. Yet, Dublin University hit back straight from the restart as they profited from a Gleeson knock-on.
McCarthy made metres again from a carry before Diarmuid McCormack flung the ball out to Ronan Quinn, the nippy winger stepping inside one challenge and wriggling over the line to make it 17-9.
The score stood despite Garryowen’s protestations that flanker McCormack had thrown a forward pass in the build-up. Egan hit the near left hand post with the conversion from out wide.
Garryowen lost tighthead Darragh McCarthy to the sin bin, a subsequent scrum penalty putting Smeeth’s side into try-scoring range. They produced a big lineout drive for McCormack to register the bonus point score which Egan converted.
Trinity were in their groove now, quickly putting Garryowen back defending in their own 22. Prop McCarthy had another powerful carry, in front of the posts, before Egan slipped past two defenders for his second try of the game.
Hogan bounced off a tackle from Jack Oliver and evaded Darragh McCarthy’s grasp to complete his brace, leaving it 36-9. Garryowen had some good individual moments, including a lineout steal from Oisin Cooke.
However, a couple of scrum penalties against them saw Mike Sherry’s young team lose hard-earned territory. Egan pounced on a loose Garryowen pass to go in under the posts for his hat-trick effort.
One of their best attacking spells earned the Light Blues a try, Fitzgerald finishing well from an Oliver pass, but that score was soon cancelled out even though Trinity openside McCormack was binned for a high tackle.
Garryowen were denied a second try by a foot in touch, and just as they pressed again, Butler’s floated pass was picked off by James Dillon. The Trinity replacement burst clear, evading Jack Delaney’s diving tackle to score from his own 22.
Egan tapped over the conversion from straight in front to complete his 25-point haul, with their second half flurry of points putting Trinity at Division 1A’s summit after an action-packed opening round.
GARRYOWEN: Jamie Heuston; Jamie Shanahan, Bryan Fitzgerald, Jack Delaney, JJ O’Neill; Tony Butler, Evan Maher; Michael Veale, Max Clein, Darragh McCarthy, Oisin Cooke, Cian Hurley, Johnny Keane, Mikey Sheahan, Brian Gleeson.
Replacements: Dean Fanning, Ben O’Sullivan, Nick Greene, Jack Oliver, Henry Buttimer, Des Fitzgerald.
DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Colm Hogan; James Dillon, Louis McDonough, Gavin Jones, Ronan Quinn; Aran Egan, Louis O’Reilly; Cole Kelly, Jack Manzo, Thomas Connolly, Harry Sheridan, Max Dunne, Anthony Ryan, Diarmuid McCormack, Ruadhan Byron.
Replacements: Conall Henchy, Paddy McCarthy, Stephen Woods, Aaron McCormack, Cormac King, Hugh O’Kennedy.