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Garryowen Battle Back To Draw With Munsters
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Garryowen Battle Back To Draw With Munsters

Garryowen Battle Back To Draw With Munsters

Battling Garryowen fought back from a 10-point deficit early in the second half to secure an exciting 16-16 draw in Friday’s Ulster Bank League Division 1A derby clash with Young Munster at Tom Clifford Park.

Indeed, Garryowen might well have won this entertaining Limerick derby late on, only for James Frawley's penalty attempt from just outside the 22 in the 78th minute to come crashing off the top of an upright before sliding outside.

A share of the spoils was perhaps the most appropriate result from the first ever Ulster Bank League game to be played under Young Munster's impressive new floodlights at Greenfields. 

The draw leaves promoted Garryowen unbeaten after the opening two rounds, while Munsters, under their new Australian-born head coach Anthony Mathison, are still seeking their first top flight success this season, following their opening day defeat to holders Lansdowne in Dublin.

In ideal playing conditions, Munsters settled first and led 6-0 after seven minutes through two penalty goals from out-half Paul Downes. However, Garryowen winger Frawley tied up the match when landing two penalty goals for the visitors in the 12th and 16th minutes.

Frawley, who has assumed the goal-kicking duties in the absence of Jamie Gavin and Munster Under-20 starlet Bill Johnston, was off target with two further penalty attempts in the opening half an hour. There was a yellow card apiece for Garryowen full-back Alex Wootton and Young Munster flanker Alan Ross.

Munsters managed to take a 13-6 lead into half-time when replacement Alan Kennedy barged over the try line from close range just before the break, following a superbly executed maul. Downes was on target with the conversion.

After Downes landed his third penalty within a minute of the restart, the Cookies' lead was out to 10 points. However, Garryowen, led by exciting young back rower Jonathan Keane and lock Aaron McCloskey, fought back strongly.

The Light Blues managed to maintain their unbeaten start to Division 1A through Frawley's 44th-minute penalty goal and his successful conversion of hooker Liam McMahon's 71st-minute try. The hosts leaked that seven-pointer during second row Sean Duggan's sin-binning for a high tackle.

While Conan Doyle's Garryowen side host Cork Constitution in a big Munster derby next weekend, Munsters, who were beaten semi-finalists last year, travel to UCD in a bid to secure their first win of the campaign.

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (IRFU)

Lineups Scorers

Match Lineups

Home Team

Craig O'Hanlon; Warren Kelly, Darragh O'Neill, Diarmaid McCarthy, Michael Vaughan; Paul Downes, Gary Fitzgerald; David Begley, Ger Slattery (capt), Paul Allen, Darren Gallagher, Sean Duggan, Alan Ross, Diarmaid Dee, Tom Goggin.

Replacements: Daniel Montgomery, Ger O'Flaherty, Alan Kennedy, Wayne Murphy, Michael Mullally.

Away Team

Alex Wootton; James Frawley, Andrew O'Byrne, Joey Purcell, James McInerney; Conan Doyle, Neil Cronin; Ben Rowley, Liam McMahon, Jonathan Phelan, Aaron McCloskey, Paul McCarroll, Jonathan Keane, Elliot Fitzgerald, Josh Hrstich (capt).

Replacements: Liam Cronin, Michael O'Donnell, Mark Hanrahan, Ed Barry, Hugh O'Brien-Cunningham.

Match Scorers

Home Team

Try: Alan Kennedy; Con: Paul Downes; Pens: Paul Downes 3

Away Team

Try: Liam McMahon; Con: James Frawley; Pens: James Frawley 3