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Rael saves Garryowen

TWO second-half tries from outstanding hooker James Rael and flanker Paul Neville at Dooradoyle on Saturday helped Garryowen to secure their All-Ireland League Division 1A status for next season at Buccaneers' expense.

Buccs looked capable of springing a surprise in this lively play-off match when the visitors led 9-6 at half-time, thanks to three penalties from scrum-half David Connellan.

However, Garryowen upped their performance level several notches in the second period, with hooker Rael crossing for a crucial 46th-minute touchdown following good work by the forwards.

The vastly experience Neville was rewarded for an outstanding individual display when barging over for a crucial second try on the hour mark.

Centre Alan Gaughan converted both tries and landed a smashing penalty in the final quarter to bring his tally for the game to 13 points as Garryowen ran out convincing winners.

Afterwards, Garryowen head coach Paul Cunningham said: "I am delighted Garryowen are still in 1A, the top division.

"That is where the club deserves to be.

"There is huge potential in this team.

"We have a young side, a good bunch of U-21s who have been brought through the past few years by the coaches here."

GARRYOWEN -- L Bourke; D McCarthy (I Hanly 79); C Hircock, A Gaughan, R O'Mahoney; C Doyle, A Griffin; JP Cooney (P O'Shea 68), J Rael (R Meyer 78), D Lavery; F McKenna (M Melbourne 70), A McCloskey; P Neville, A Kavanagh, D Sherry (S Buckley 70).

BUCCANEERS -- J O'Brien; C Boland, A Hayman (J Bennett 53), A Wynne, S Monahan; J Carty, D Connellan (C Lavelle 53); C Higgins (M Staunton 60), G Halligan, D Rogers; P Burke, D Qualter; S Burke (M Madden 72), E Rooney (J Hayes 68), K Kiripati.

REF-- M Black (IRFU).

Irish Independent