GARRYOWEN 25 LANSDOWNE 24, Dooradoyle
Scorers: Garryowen: Tries: Tommy O’Hora, Jamie Heuston, Jack Stafford; Cons: Jamie Heuston 2; Pens: David McCarthy, Jamie Heuston
Lansdowne: Tries: Adam Leavy 3, James Reynolds; Cons: Tim Foley 2
HT: Garryowen 8 Lansdowne 24
Garryowen racked up 17 unanswered second half points, including a decisive late penalty from Jamie Heuston, as they overcame Lansdowne 25-24 in a thrilling top-flight encounter at Dooradoyle.
Full-back Heuston swept over a close-range place-kick with five minutes remaining, capping off a tremendous comeback from the Light Blues who had trailed an Adam Leavy-inspired Lansdowne 24-8 at half-time.
Ireland Sevens international Leavy crossed for a third-minute try as the visitors, who had only won once on their last five visits to Dooradoyle, connected with some slick offloads. He added his second just four minutes later and fellow winger James Reynolds made it 17-0 with an intercept from 40 metres out.
A 22-metre penalty from David McCarthy got Garryowen off the mark, before Leavy completed his hat-trick with another pacy finish in the 30th minute. However, Conan Doyle’s side got a timely try just before the break as Tommy O’Hora crossed for the second week running, getting over in the corner.
Centre Bryan Fitzgerald outfoxed the Lansdowne defence with a classy sidestep and offload, which played in Heuston for a 47th-minute try. The pressure was increasing on Mike Ruddock’s men, Munster ‘A’ scrum half Jack Stafford sniping over from a scrum while Lansdowne were down to 14 men.
Another of the hosts’ provincial players, flanker Jack Daly, saw yellow but Garryowen managed to hold up a promising Lansdowne maul. They cleared their lines with a penalty and a late bout of pressure earned them Heuston’s match-winning strike from straight in front.
GARRYOWEN: Jamie Heuston; Paul Clancy, Bryan Fitzgerald, John Hurley, Tommy O’Hora; David McCarthy, Jack Stafford; Conor Fitzgerald, Liam Cronin, Andrew Keating, Roy Whelan, Kevin Seymour, Johnny Keane, Jack Daly, Sean Rennison.
Replacements: Derry Gleeson, Corrie Barrett, Scott Leahy, Rob Guerin, Hugh O’Brien-Cunningham.
LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills; Adam Leavy, Harry Brennan, Fergal Cleary, James Reynolds; Tim Foley, Tim Murphy; Martin Mulhall, James Rael, Adam Boland, Mark Flanagan, Jack Dwan (capt), Jack O’Sullivan, Joey Szpara, Neal Moylett.
Replacements: Jack Dinneen, Greg McGrath, Darragh Murphy, Ross Barron, Conor Murphy.