UCC 7 GARRYOWEN 15, the Mardyke
Scorers: UCC: Try: Rory Suttor; Con: James Taylor
Garryowen: Tries: Cian O’Shea, Colm Quilligan, Jamie Heuston
HT: UCC 0 Garryowen 5
Garryowen’s starting back-three grabbed a try each as they held off UCC for a hard-fought 15-7 Munster derby success at the Mardyke.
Colm Quilligan and Jamie Heuston touched down in the second half to add to winger Cian O’Shea’s lone first half score. Second-placed Garryowen now have a seven-point advantage over UCD in the battle for a home semi-final.
UCC deserved at least a losing bonus point given the manner of their performance. They were led superbly by captain Ryan Murphy and his back row colleague Rory Suttor whose 65th-minute try made for a gripping finish.
The Cork students remain locked in a three-way tie with Dublin University and Ballynahinch at the foot of the Division 1A table, and were kicking themselves after falling to convert a gilt-edged first half opportunity.
A terrific 30-metre break from lock Richard Thompson had UCC on the cusp of a try, yet supporting scrum half Louis Kahn was stopped just short of the line. The breakthrough came at the other end in the 26th minute as Garryowen’s backs and forwards combined to force the opening try.
O’Shea crossed from close range following some hard carrying from Andy Keating and company, before crisp passing across the back-line released the left winger for the corner. Defences were on top for the remainder of a first half which finished 5-0.
It was right winger Quilligan’s turn just a couple of minutes after the restart, as he finished off a fine intercept effort from 40 metres out. It was the promising youngster’s fourth try in the last five rounds, edging his team closer to a season’s double over UCC.
25-10 winners of the home fixture last month, Garryowen made it 15 points without reply when their powerful pack took their Cork counterparts through 20-plus phases. The defensive workload took its toll as the ball was worked through hands again and a gap opened up for full-back Heuston to snipe over to the left of the posts.
The final quarter saw UCC produce some of their best play, Taylor’s well-weighted grubber kick inviting chasing centre Louis Bruce through. With a turnover forced and the home attack showing an increasing threat, Australian Suttor eventually crashed over for Taylor to convert.
Unfortunately for Brian Walsh’s youngsters, they could not capitalise on two lineout launches from the edge of Garryowen 22 during the closing minutes. Their bench made an impact, including a cracking turnover from Bryan O’Connor, but the Light Blues used their experienced to close out a well-merited win.
UCC: Murray Linn; Michael Clune, Louis Bruce, Peter Sylvester, Killian Coghlan; James Taylor, Louis Kahn; Shane O’Hanlon, Tadgh McCarthy, Rob O’Donovan, Richard Thompson, Daire Feeney, Rory Suttor, Finn Burke, Ryan Murphy (capt).
Replacements: Daniel O’Connor, Bryan O’Connor, Cian Barry, Aiden Brien, Eoin Monahan.
GARRYOWEN: Jamie Heuston; Colm Quilligan, Bryan Fitzgerald, Jack Delaney, Cian O’Shea; Dave McCarthy, Evan Maher; Mark Donnelly, Pat O’Toole, Andy Keating, Tim Ferguson, Kevin Seymour (capt), Roy Whelan, Johnny Keane, Bailey Faloon.
Replacements: Liam Cronin, Corrie Barrett, Sean Rennison, John Hurley, Paul Clancy.