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Cusack Kicks Young Munster Past Butler-Inspired Light Blues

Cusack Kicks Young Munster Past Butler-Inspired Light Blues

Ireland Under-20 international Ronan O'Sullivan played his part in Young Munster's win over Limerick rivals Garryowen ©INPHO/Ben Brady

In Saturday’s evening kick-off, a late Evan Cusack penalty guided Young Munster to a 26-23 derby success against Garryowen in front of a large crowd at Tom Clifford Park.


YOUNG MUNSTER 26 GARRYOWEN 23, Tom Clifford Park
Scorers: Young Munster: Tries: Jack Harrington, Penalty try; Cons: Evan Cusack, Pen try con; Pens: Evan Cusack 4
Garryowen: Tries: Tony Butler 2; Cons: Tony Butler 2; Pens: Tony Butler 3
HT: Young Munster 16 Garryowen 17

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Their scrum dominance was an important factor for the Cookies, while Munster Academy out-half Tony Butler starred for the Light Blues with two tries, two conversions and three penalties.

Butler’s early intercept try set Garryowen on their way to 17-16 half-time lead. His opposite number Cusack replied with two penalties to make it a one-point game and it was nip and tuck from there.

A first win of the Energia All-Ireland League season was the target for both clubs. Young Munster scrum half Donnchadh O’Callaghan was prominent early on, catching one high ball and then feeding Cusack for a drop goal attempt that went wide.

However, just when an Evan O’Gorman half break had given them some momentum, the hosts were rocked when Butler intercepted an O’Callaghan pass. He stayed clear of Cusack to score, also evading a last-ditch tackle from Shay McCarthy.

The Ennis youngster converted his speedily-finished second-minute try, before a bulldozing carry from Munsters captain Conor Bartley set up Cusack to respond from the tee, making it 7-3.

The hosts’ scrum began to wield influence, one penalty taking them out of their own half and then Garryowen infringed again off a lineout maul. They went for the corner, James Horrigan securing set-piece possession.

Garryowen defended smartly, getting their reward when young hooker Max Clein came up with a turnover near her own line. Yet, Johnny Keane went in off his feet at the next ruck, handing Cusack an easy three points.

Midway through the first half, the Cookies thought they were over the whitewash. Conor Hayes chipped through, collected the bouncing ball and passed inside for O’Callaghan to finish off to the right of the posts.

Referee Andrew Cole called play back, though, as he spotted O’Callaghan was offside from the kick. It was a let-off for Garryowen and they were clinical from their next lineout opportunity just outside the home 22.

Butler profited from a defensive mix-up to speed through a gap, evading the clutches of Hayes and sidestepping past Stephen Lyons for a top class try beside the left hand post. With the conversion, Garryowen were 14-6 to the good.

Despite Munsters hooker George Jacobs fumbling the ball at their next maul, they demolished the Garryowen scrum to earn a penalty. That set up a Cookies scrum, only for Evan Maher to steal possession on the ground.

Young Munster kept pressing, O’Callaghan’s quick tap luring Maher for an cynical offside and a yellow card. Garryowen skipper Sean Rennison came up trumps with some dogged defending to earn turnover ball from a maul.

When the home side came hunting again, a big Bailey Faloon carry put them close to the posts. Cusack lobbed a kick out to the left for Harrington to cut inside JJ O’Neill and Cian Hurley and dot down. Cusack’s conversion restored the one-point differential.

It was O’Neill’s initial break that put Butler in position to knock over his first penalty goal. Those three points were cancelled out by the last kick of the first half, a thumping strike from Cusack to leave it at 17-16.

Scores were harder to come by in the second period, Butler striking first with a central penalty from just outside the Young Munster 22. A turnover penalty, won by Matt Sheehan, prevented the Cookies from hitting back quickly.

A monster maul took Gearoid Prendergast’s charges back deep into Garryowen’s 22, Hayes increasing his threat on the right wing before Munster lock Eoin O’Connor was unfortunate to knock on.

It was time for Munsters to hammer home their advantage in the scrum, winning a penalty in the set piece to reclaim possession and then forcing two more to be rewarded with their penalty try.

Now trailing for the first time (23-20), Garryowen relied on some pinpoint tactical kicking from Butler and Sheehan. The former kicked them level from distance, following a leg-pumping run from Rennison.

It was the all to play for entering the final ten minutes, a nicely-delayed pass from Cusack propelled full-back Lyons down the left touchline and up into the Garryowen 22.

The returning Alan Kennedy added to the Cookies’ push for a match-winning score. Garryowen were caught offside close to their own line and Cusack split the posts for the lead score with five minutes remaining.

Young Munster ended the game in the ascendancy, O’Connor setting up another strong maul before Maher picked up his second yellow card for a no-arms tackle on Hayes as the winger chased his own kick towards the Garryowen line.

Garryowen had one more breakout, Butler launching a kick chase, but Munsters had the last scoring opportunity. Replacement Chris Moore was just held up from a maul, the Light Blues digging in to ensure they took home a losing bonus point.

YOUNG MUNSTER: Stephen Lyons; Conor Hayes, Shay McCarthy, Evan O’Gorman, Jack Harrington; Evan Cusack, Donnchadh O’Callaghan; David Begley, George Jacobs, Conor Bartley (capt), Tom Goggin, Eoin O’Connor, James Horrigan, Ronan O’Sullivan, Bailey Faloon.

Replacements: Chris Moore, Paulo Leleisiuao, Sean Rigney, Alan Kennedy, Jack Lyons, Harry Fleming.

GARRYOWEN: Jamie Shanahan; JJ O’Neill, Matt Sheehan, Jack Delaney, Henry Buttimer; Tony Butler, Evan Maher; Michael Veale, Max Clein, Darragh McCarthy, Oisin Cooke, Cian Hurley, Sean Rennison (capt), Johnny Keane, Brian Gleeson.

Replacements: Shaughan Hanrahan, Ben O’Sullivan, Des Fitzgerald, Ed Barry, Tommy O’Hora, Mikey Sheahan.