GARRYOWEN 40 UCD 14, Dooradoyle
Scorers: Garryowen: Tries: Diarmuid Barron 2, Liam Coombes, Alex Wootton 2, Bryan Fitzgerald; Cons: Dave McCarthy, John Hurley; Pens: Dave McCarthy, John Hurley
UCD: Tries: Matthew Gilsenan, David Ryan; Cons: Tim Corkery 2
HT: Garryowen 20 UCD 7
Munster’s Diarmuid Barron and Alex Wootton weighed in with two tries each during Garryowen’s dominant 40-14 victory over UCD at Dooradoyle.
The second-placed Light Blues are in a rich vein of form attack-wise, bagging a try-scoring bonus point in each of the last four rounds. They now have a five-point buffer over UCD in the play-off positions, with eight points to make up on unbeaten leaders Cork Constitution.
The students had pipped Garryowen 25-24 in a titanic tussle before Christmas – Ronan Foley starred with a second half hat-trick – and this return clash was just as competitive early on. Hooker Barron’s textbook maul try on the quarter hour mark was cancelled out by a Matthew Gilsenan effort near the posts.
Winger Wootton darted in between two defenders to score in the 26th minute, benefiting from half-backs Jack Stafford and Dave McCarthy’s slick service. After McCarthy added a penalty, Barron’s Munster Academy colleague Liam Coombes extended the lead to 20-7 when pouncing on a UCD error to go over in the left corner.
Coombes struck another psychological blow before the interval with a brilliant try-saving tackle, and Kevin Croke’s young side – who had strung together six wins and a draw across the first half of the season – really needed to hit back quickly on the resumption.
Instead, the Kevin Seymour-led Garryowen pack pushed the margin out to 18 points with a 45th-minute bonus point try. UCD’s maul defence was splintered by another forceful drive and Barron sniped over to complete his brace on the greasy surface.
Some neat footwork from Garryowen centre Bryan Fitzgerald took him over for his fifth try of the campaign, before UCD replied with full-back David Ryan scoring from a 72nd-minute interception. However, College were soon reduced to 14 men when replacement Chris Hennessy saw yellow for collapsing a maul.
Garryowen replacement John Hurley, an Under-20 full-back, kept the scoreboard ticking over by knocking the penalty through the uprights, and there was still time for the Limerick men to register a sixth touchdown when Wootton dived over in the right corner.
GARRYOWEN: Jamie Heuston; Alex Wootton, Bryan Fitzgerald, Jack Delaney, Liam Coombes; Dave McCarthy, Jack Stafford; Conor Fitzgerald, Diarmuid Barron, Andy Keating, Paddy Kelly, Kevin Seymour (capt), Roy Whelan, Pat O’Toole, Tim Ferguson.
Replacements: Liam Cronin, Jack Mullany, Sean Rennison, Evan Maher, John Hurley.