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First Blood To Young Munster

First Blood To Young Munster

Young Munster got the better of their Limerick rivals Garryowen to make a winning start to life in All-Ireland League Division 1A.

Munsters started and finished strongly under the Dooradoyle floodlights, with winger Darragh O'Neill and centre Danny Grace scoring a try apiece.

The visitors blazed into a 13-0 lead by the 17th minute. Their half-backs, Willie Staunton and Alan Kingsley, are both former Garryowen players, and Kingsley kicked two penalties and converted O'Neill's 12th-minute try.

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He gathered Staunton's inviting kick through to score by the posts, with Laois native Kingsley adding the conversion.

Young Munster were full value for their early lead, having given the hosts little change as they dominated the attacking play. However, Garryowen upped their game as the first half wore on, buoyed by the large home support.

In ideal conditions, former Ireland Under-20 international Conor Murray kicked his side back into contention, landing two penalties in the 19th and 28th minutes and a third in injury-time.

Having had their lead cut to 13-9 by the break, Munsters tried to reassert themselves early in the second half but Garryowen’s defence was on top.

Kingsley forced a 55th minute penalty wide of the target, while Young Munster centre Matthew Costelloe missed out on a try, after Staunton's pass was ruled forward.

Garryowen mounted a determined response and claimed their only try of the night, right on the hour mark. After an initial break from winger Ian Hanly and a good follow-up from full-back Lorcan Bourke, hooker Robert Meyer raided over from close range, despite the best efforts of Liam Og Murphy and Staunton.

Murray missed the conversion, leaving Garryowen with a one-point lead and a grandstand finish ensued.

Young Munster wasted little time in hitting back. With a quarter-of-an-hour to go, Grace, taking a skip pass from Staunton, broke through for a crucial try which Kingsley converted brilliantly from near the left touchline.

Garryowen pressed hard for a try late on, but with the likes of out-half Staunton and number 8 Neville Melbourne ompressing for Young Munster, the visitors held on for a hard-fought derby win.

Referee: Alain Rolland (IRFU)