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Garryowen Outgun Bohs In Tight Derby Tussle

Garryowen Outgun Bohs In Tight Derby Tussle

When referee Ken Imbusch sounded the final whistle at the end of a dogged Limerick derby at Thomond Park on Friday night, 11-6 victors Garryowen only had 13 players on the pitch against UL Bohemians.

Two late yellow cards might well have cost the Light Blues victory as, in the final moments, hosts UL created a try-scoring opportunity close to the points but knocked on.

Heavy rain before kick-off made for a greasy ball and there were plenty of errors as the wet and windy conditions had a big influence on proceedings and the general quality of play.

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Two penalties by Garryowen out-half Jamie Gavin after four and 18 minutes were cancelled out by a brace from Shane Airey, the Bohs number 10 who came into the game having scored 41 points during the opening five rounds of the league.

Airey split the posts in the 20th and 25th minutes as the home side got back on level terms, profiting from some improved continuity and decision-making.

The only try of this dour, defence-dominated encounter arrived in the 34th minute when Garryowen hooker Ed Rossiter, a former UL player, blocked down an attempted clearance and did well to control the ball with his feet to win the race for the touchdown.

Gavin was unable to convert having also missed a kickable penalty, but Conan Doyle's men would have been satisfied, nonetheless, to take an 11-6 advantage into the second half.

Neither side could manage a score in a lively final 40 minutes, with Garryowen failing to truly capitalise on their superiority in the scrum and their lion's share of possession and territory in the third quarter.

Credit to Bohs' hard work without the ball, they continued to frustrate their local rivals for long spells with some textbook tackling and well-organised defence.

UL stood firm even after replacement Joe Moloney was sin-binned for repeated infringements, and their confidence grew as they remained just five points behind amid a ten-minute spell of uncontested scrums.

Bohs forced the issue late on, winning three penalties in scoring range as try scorer Rossiter saw yellow and a second Garryowen sin-binning followed soon after. It was all hands to the pump for David Sherry and his team-mates.

The home try never came, though, despite a number of drives for the line and it was the third-placed visitors who hung on to claim the hard-earned derby bragging rights.

Having returned to winning ways, Doyle's side are now seven points clear of Bohs in the Division 1B table. They have a huge game at home to second-placed Ballymena next Saturday.

Referee: Ken Imbusch (IRFU)