Staunton blunder costly

 

Rarely has a team won a crucial AIB league tie and still felt as deflated as the opposition at the final whistle. However, that was the case at Dooradoyle on Saturday when Garryowen beat Buccaneers 22-12 to keep alive their hopes of a third successive appearance in the final.

Garryowen's failure, however, to claim a bonus point detracted from their victory and to rub salt in their wounds, it was only an act of gross carelessness by their talented outhalf Jeremy Staunton that prevented them from picking up what could yet prove to be a crucial extra point.

Garryowen were leading 22-12 with only four minutes remaining when Staunton was sent clean through without an opponent in sight. However as he was about to score he raised one hand in the air in triumph and then to his horror saw the ball slip from the other hand. Buccaneers cleared the danger and Garryowen were unable to capture the vital fourth try before referee Alain Rolland brought proceedings to a halt. "It was a stupid thing to do and Jeremy knows that but for him it's all part of the learning process," Garryowen coach John Hall said. "He won't do it again."

Garryowen produced many flowing movements but they also made some very bad mistakes, one of which allowed Rob Lee to put Buccaneers in front with an opportunist try in the 14th minute. Kevin Hartigan, by some distance Garryowen's best back, scored a brilliant try himself and then made another before half-time for Dominic Crotty. Killian Keane kicked a penalty and a conversion to give the home side a 15-5 lead at the interval.

Scoring sequence: 14 mins: R Lee try 0-5; 26: K Hartigan try, K Keane con 7-5; 30: Keane pen 10-5; 34: D Crotty try 15-5; 48: Des Rigney try, S Allnutt con 15-12; 57: K Hartigan try, Keane con 22-12.

GARRYOWEN: D Crotty; P McDonagh, K Keane, K Hartigan, K O'Riordan; J Staunton, T Tierney; N Hartigan P Humphreys, R Laffan, R Leahy, S Leahy, P Hogan, D Wallace, P Neville. Replacement: A Bermingham for Hogan.

BUCCANEERS: C Kilroy; M Devine, O Cobbe, M Deane, R Lee; S ALlnutt, S McIvor; J Maher, J MCVeigh, M Cahill, R Keady, Donal Rigney, Des Rigney, C Rigney, M Steffert, Replacements: E Molloy for Deane, G Webster for Donal Rigney, N Rush for McVeigh.

Referee: A Rolland (Leinster).