Garryowen moved up to third place in the Division 1A standings with a 27-14 bonus-point success against Terenure College at Lakelands Park.
Scorers: Terenure College: Tries: Conor McKeon, Sam Dardis; Cons: Conor McKeon 2
Garryowen: Tries: Liam Coombes 2, Colm Quilligan, Diarmuid Barron; Cons: Jamie Heuston 2; Pen: Jamie Heuston
HT: Terenure College 7 Garryowen 15
Adding to tries in each half from Munster prospect Liam Coombes, Colm Quilligan and Diarmuid Barron also crossed for the Limerick visitors. Scrum half Conor McKeon accumulated nine points for the hosts, while Sam Dardis – younger brother of Ireland Sevens captain Billy – was once again prominent.
Now coached by former Garryowen senior coach Sean Skehan, Terenure trailed their opponents by a single point for large chunks of the second half. That was until Garryowen pushed into overdrive during the final quarter to claim their fifth win in seven league outings.
The Light Blues bossed the opening exchanges and broke the deadlock in the third minute. Turning down a shot at goal, they went for the corner and it paid dividends as Coombes got on the end of a subsequent grubber kick to touch down and Jamie Heuston clinically converted.
Terenure recovered from their nightmare start with captain Stephen O’Neill carrying powerfully from inside centre. Their pressure became relentless and they deserved got on the board just past the first quarter. After making initial inroads in the 22, McKeon dived over on the left for a snappily-taken try.
The former Connacht half-back converted his own try to draw the hosts level, yet Garryowen hit back before the interval. Off a lineout maul, Quilligan was picked out in space on the right for a five-pointer, before Heuston added a late penalty to make it 15-7 at half-time.
Nine minutes into the second period, it was a single-point game. McKeon went for touch from a close-in penalty and it proved a gamble worth taking as the ever-dangerous Dardis burst through a defensive gap to dot down in style.
Heuston drifted a penalty attempt wide of the posts, six minutes later, and in match of small margins, the next score was always going to be vital. Unfortunately for Terenure, the sin-binning of lock Peter Claffey on 62 minutes left them severely hamstrung.
With their set piece dominance beginning to take hold, Garryowen bagged their third try moments later. Breaking off another lineout drive, hooker Barron crashed over in the right corner.
Although Heuston’s missed conversion left Terenure in with a shout still at 20-14 down, they could not unlock a watertight Garryowen defence despite their lion’s share of possession.
‘Nure were subsequently turned over and following a swift counter attack, tall winger Coombes sealed it for the Limerick men with a superb individual try. Heuston’s outstanding touchline kick brought the curtain down on a fine day at the office for Conan Doyle’s charges.
TERENURE COLLEGE: Jake Swaine; Sam Dardis, Robbie Deegan, Stephen O’Neill (capt), Adam La Grue; James Thornton, Conor McKeon; Saba Meunargia, Adam Clarkin, Liam Hyland, Peter Claffey, Michael Melia, Stephen Caffrey, Niall Lalor, Eoin Joyce.
Replacements: Robbie Smyth, Adam Tuite, Niall O’Sullivan, Mark O’Neill, James O’Donoghue.