Alex Wootton’s late try proved hugely significant as Garryowen outgunned Old Belvedere 26-19 in the battle of Ulster Bank League Division 1A’s bottom two sides at sun-kissed Dooradoyle.
The defeat condemns Belvedere to relegation with one round remaining, while Wootton’s precious bonus point score – which came soon after Liam Coombes’ sixth try of the campaign – has given the Light Blues a shot at avoiding the relegation play-off spot.
‘Belvo erased an early 14-0 deficit in Limerick thanks to a Jonathan Slattery try and three Shane McDonald penalties, before lock Jack Kelly’s 75th-minute touchdown had them on the cusp of a stunning comeback victory. However, they were undone late on by the pace of Coombes and Munster starlet Wootton who starred from full-back.
Garryowen, Dublin University and Terenure College are all level on 35 points – now seven clear of ‘Belvo – with next Saturday’s final round set to decide who ends up in the play-offs alongside three promotion hopefuls from Division 1B.
Terenure turned on the style to give leaders Lansdowne a 36-17 beating at Lakelands. Young centre Ted O’Donoghue who was playing schools rugby last year, was one of their four try scorers and they also had a penalty try. The bonus point win keeps ‘Nure on course to finish outside of the bottom two.
Teenage out-half Alan Tynan kicked Young Munster to a 3-0 win over top-four rivals Cork Constitution at Tom Clifford Park. His 38th minute penalty proved to be the only score, with referee Nigel Correll ruling out a try from Cookies replacement James O’Connor.
Constitution, who were held up over the try-line twice late on, have fallen to fourth in the table but are only a point behind Munsters, Clontarf and Lansdowne – all on 53 points – ahead of a mouth-watering final round on Easter Saturday.
Meanwhile, in Division 1B, it will be the automatic drop or the play-offs for Galwegians after they went down 24-22 to UCC at the Mardyke. Flanker Daire Feeney’s bonus point score, superbly converted by Kevin O’Keeffe, saw the students win out.
Aided by a second half penalty try and Ronan McKenna’s 69th-minute penalty, Shannon have secured their divisional status despite losing 19-13 to champions Buccaneers in Limerick.
Two second half penalties from James Lennon guided second-placed UL Bohemians to a 13-8 success at ‘Hinch, while Naas ran riot in the second half to hammer Ballymena 40-15 at Forenaughts – Peter Howard and Fionn Higgins scored two tries each.
|6||St Mary’s College||17||7||0||10||364||422||-58||4||4||36|