Monday 23 October 2017

O'Sullivan glad to be back despite losing first of 'nine cup finals'

AIL round-up

Eddie O'Sullivan answers journalists' questions during a press meeting
Eddie O'Sullivan answers journalists' questions during a press meeting
David Joyce

Kieran Rooney

ALTHOUGH Garryowen didn't quite achieve the victory they desperately needed, Eddie O'Sullivan was more than happy with his return to the fray on the back pitch at the Aviva Stadium.

O'Sullivan's arrival as an advisor to the Garryowen coaching team of Tom Tierney, Paul Neville and Paul Murphy brought about a distinct improvement.

However, the Limerick team still went down 13-9 to Lansdowne and, although they picked up a losing bonus point, they remain stranded at the bottom of the Division 1A table.

O'Sullivan knows better than anyone that it is going to take a remarkable turnaround if Garryowen are to avoid relegation.

With eight games left, they now trail second-from-bottom Ballynahinch by 11 points.

"It's a big battle. Nine cup finals – one gone, eight to go." stressed the former Ireland coach.

"We have a very important game at home to Ballynahinch at Dooradoyle next weekend.

"Hopefully, we can take a lot of confidence out of today's performance. To be fair, Lansdowne dominated possession but I thought our defence was fantastic. There was great energy and a great work ethic and you can't ask for more.

"From a personal point of view, it's great to be involved again. I'm enjoying being back on the field again, grass under my feet."

Elsewhere, out-half David Joyce produced another outstanding performance to help leaders Clontarf record a vital 26-9 away success over Young Munster at Clifford Park.

The former Dublin University player contributed 16 points with a try, conversion and three penalties. Scrum-half Sam Cronin weighed in with a try and there was also a penalty try.

The victory extended Clontarf's advantage at the top of the table to three points.

Second-placed Old Belvedere were held to a 22-22 home draw by St Mary's College, but the result represented a tremendous comeback as Belvo had trailed 14-0 at one stage.

They hit back with tries from Richard Dunne, Jack Conan and Daniel Riordan and could have sneaked a victory had out-half Steve Crosbie not seen his late difficult conversion attempt veer narrowly wide.

Cork Constitution moved ahead of UCD into fifth spot by beating the students 14-6 at Temple Hill, while Dolphin returned to winning ways with a comfortable 13-0 away success over struggling Ballynahinch.

Terenure College are still way out in front in Division 1B after recording their 10th straight victory, beating UL Bohemians 15-6 in Limerick.

The prolific James O'Neill was very much the hero with a hat-trick of tries.

Corinthians found themselves in a tough battle with Dublin University at home before emerging victorious 23-22.

Belfast Harlequins accounted for Buccaneers 19-18 at Dubarry Park, while Malone beat Dungannon 13-3 in the bottom-of-table clash at Stevenson Park.

 

STAR TURN

David Joyce (Clontarf)

The out-half's prolific points-scoring record continued against Young Munster on Saturday when he scored 16 of his side's 26 points to keep Clontarf top of the table.

ONE TO WATCH

Chris Quinn (Cork Constitution)

Having only taken over the kicking duties for his side in their recent Munster Senior Cup final win, the assured full-back has added to his already impressive array of skills and he kicked two fine long-range penalties to edge Cork Con to victory over UCD.

NUMBER OF THE WEEK

0 The number of games across all four divisions that fell foul to the weather on a weekend when grounds staff up and down the country deserve huge credit.

Irish Independent

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