Thomond RFC 12 UL Bohemian RFC 18
UL Bohemian RFC claimed the 81st Limerick Charity Cup with an 18-12 win over Thomond in Clifford Park on Sunday. With UL Boh s winning their first Charity Cup title since 2000, the clash was a repeat of last week's ODM Munster Senior Challenge Cup first round tie, with the score finishing exactly as it had been in that clash.
A game not without its fair share of handling errors in the opening exchanges, Boh's, in particular, improved in this area as the game wore on. It was Thomond, however, who came out on top during the opening stages of the game. After losing a lineout inside the Boh s 22 on 11 minutes, Thomond atoned with a well taken try on 18 minutes. A break in midfield by the Thomond right winger, Niall McNamara, led to the ball being moved to the left winger, Mike Long, inside the Boh s 22. Long battled through the defense and did very well to make it to the line. Full back John Cusack, kicked the conversion and the score stood at 7-0. Boh s responded 4 minutes later with a penalty kicked by out half Fergal Lawlor 35 yards out from the Thomond line. Despite UL Boh s reduced to 14 men for the ten minute period before half time, and again for the opening period of the second half, another Lawlor penalty before half time brought UL Boh s within a point of Thomond.
After the restart, Thomond looked the better team; however they didn t push home their advantage, missing a penalty kick and a drop kick at goal in the opening minutes of the second half. Boh s notched up the first try of the game on 45 minutes, with hooker Gordan Ryan getting the touch down after a maul from a lineout 15 yards from the Thomond line. Fergal Lawlor kicked the conversion to make it 13-7, with Boh s leading for the first time in the game.
Bohs, with impressive handling and some well worked mauls, were finding it difficult to turn their territorial advantage into scores, with Thomond putting up a very tight defense. With 5 minutes remaining it looked as though Boh s lead of 6 points would be enough to win the game, however, Thomond had other ideas and they continued to battle their way up the pitch bringing them to the Boh s 22. Quick passing out to the Thomond winger gave him the space to make it to the corner to score. Thomond s fans were jubilant. The difficult conversion attempt was missed and Boh s now led 13-12.
From the kick off Boh s were awarded a scrum outside the Thomond 22. The ball was won and it was moved across the pitch to right winger Mark Butler who did excellent work to score a crucial try in the corner. Boh s held out until the end to the delight of their supporters, winning their first Charity Cup title since 2000.
Having come into the final on the back of a 20-3 quarter final win over Garryowen, UL Bohemian RFC ended Bruff's title hopes in the semi final with a 47-31 away win.
Originally known as the Hospital Cup, the competition was introduced in 1924 by Garryowen s Jack O Sullivan to raise funds for Barrington and St. John s Hospital in Limerick. A dynamic character, Jack was a founder playing member of Garryowen, going onto play for Munster and winning two Irish caps. He also won five Munster Senior Cup medals. He went onto become President of Garryowen, the Munster Branch and the Union, and was responsible for bringing the first international game to Limerick in the late 1800 s, with Ireland playing Wales on that occasion. The name of the competition changed five years after it was introduced to encapsulate other charities that became involved. Garryowen were the first winners of the competition, and hold the record for the most titles, winning 24 in total. Young Munster have won the Limerick Charity Cup 20 times.
With thanks to Michael O Flaherty and Stephen O Dowd.