Garryowen and Shannon face off in AIL derby at Dooradoyle

The biggest game this weekend in the All Ireland League sees Limerick rivals Garryowen and Shannon clash in Dooradoyle on Friday night. Garryowen go into the game on the back of two wins on the bounce that has seen them rise to move into fifth place in Division 1A of the AIL.

Garryowen beat Young Munster in their last home game and followed that up with an away win over Terenure on Saturday. Again, it was teenage out-half Ben Healy that saw Garryowen to victory with 12 of their 17 points.

Healy kicked four penalties and Darren Ryan scored Garryowen’s solitary try in their one-point win. Ryan’s try put Garryowen nine ahead heading into the final quarter but a penalty and a try from the home side ensured a nervy finish but the Light Blues held on for a fine win.

Shannon were comfortably beaten by Lansdowne on a 32-15 scoreline at Thomond Park’s back pitch last Saturday. Tom Hayes’ side fell 10-3 in the lead up to half time but an excellent Robbie Deegan try cut the Dublin side’s advantage to two points at the break. However, Lansdowne kicked into gear early in the second half and scored three more tries before Nathan Randles’ late consolation. The defeat saw Shannon fall down a spot to sixth in the table.

Both teams have lofty ambitions of reaching the playoffs this season and Friday night’s game is a pivotal one before their final game of the year the following weekend. Garryowen’s recent run of good form following two poor performances against UCD and Cork Con. Healy has excelled in those outings and Shannon will need to keep a close eye on him if they are to arrest their two game losing run.

Elsewhere in Division 1A this weekend, Young Munster make the daunting trip to Temple Hill where they take on the leaders Con on Saturday. Munsters will be extremely frustrated with their draw with UCD last time out.

Gearoid Prendergast’s side led the game 34-19 at one stage in the second half but in the end they were lucky to come away with a draw. UCD had a conversion in front of the posts in the final moments but Matthew Gilsenan somehow missed the target. Munsters looked scintillating with ball in hand throughout but the concession of four yellow cards that left them down to 13 players on two occasions almost cost them dearly.

They lie in eighth position in the table and face a very tough run of games either side of Christmas. After Con, Munsters welcome Clontarf to Tom Clifford Park and then face the same two teams in the New Year. An improvement in defence and discipline is a must if Munsters are to take anything from those games.

Elsewhere in the AIL this weekend, Old Crescent make the trip the Blackrock and UL Bohs welcome Dolphin in Division 2A. Bruff will be looking to top Division 2C when they take on Malahide away from home, while Thomond host Tullamore in Liam Fitzgerald Park.

In the Women’s AIL, UL Bohs moved back into second place with a comprehensive victory 45-7 win over St Mary’s. Chloe Pearse and Niamh Briggs crossed for two tries each, while Fiona Hayes, Rachel Allen-Connolly and Rosie Newton went over for a try each in the victory.

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John Keogh

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