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Garryowen Maintain Winning Run In Cork

Garryowen Maintain Winning Run In Cork

Garryowen determinedly held on for a gutsy win over fellow Division 1A heavyweights Cork Constitution at Temple Hill on Saturday afternoon.

One of the Light Blues’ promising Under-21 players, Geoff Ryan, stepped up to the mark with a 10-point contribution as he converted tries from Rory Brosnan and Ronan O’Mahony.

Cork Con came into this game with an unbeaten four-match run at home and they made the early running with Johnny Holland kicking two penalties.

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Holland rifled over the first from 40 metres out and six minutes later, at the end of the first quarter, added a second as he judged the tricky cross-pitch wind.

Garryowen were quick to respond as they piled forward to force a five-metre lineout. Their combative forwards mustered a fine drive and powerful prop Brosnan finished off a pushover try which Ryan converted.

As Garryowen began to force the pace, they won a penalty outside the Constitution 22 and Ryan’s surefooted kick made it 10-6 for the visitors at the break.

Cork Con came out fighting on the second half, sweeping ahead thanks to a close-in try from hooker Andrew O'Driscoll which went unconverted.

But with James Rael and Thomas Anderson standing out in the pack, the Light Blues barrelled forward to respond with their second try of this finely balanced encounter.

A lovely inside pass released full-back O’Mahony who hit the line at pace and burst through for a well-taken seven-pointer, converted again by Ryan.

Holland answered back with his third successful penalty to make it 17-14 but Ryan, filling in for Garryowen’s top points scorer Jamie Gavin, held his nerve to add a final three-pointer and guide Tom Tierney’s men to a gritty away victory.

The result though was not enough to keep Garryowen at the top of the Ulster Bank League table, as Lansdowne, courtesy of their bonus point defeat of Dolphin, have moved ahead of them on scoring difference.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner after the game, Garryowen head coach Tierney said: “First match after Christmas and it’s obviously not going to be as fluid as you would want it to be, but it was about coming down here and being committed at the breakdown and very aware in defence.

“Away from home you always have to concentrate on defence, try to snatch as many scores as you can and then rely on your defenders to help you through.

“That’s particularly important against a team like Con who have quality players that will hurt you if you blink.

“They’ve pulled off wins (at the death) four or more times already this season. So, when we went six points up near the finish it was always going to come down to a big defensive effort.

“We knew they had previous in that sense. Once we got that last penalty we knew we would have to defend for those three or four minutes. We worked hard on it and I was proud of the way the guys pulled it off.”

Referee: David Wilkinson (IRFU)