Joe Marler enjoyed a mixed debut as Harlequins captain, his side recording victory over London Irish but the prop seeing yellow in a scrappy second game of the London Double Header at Twickenham.
Marler was sent to the sin-bin in the 41st minute following a high tackle, but returned to the field to help his side hold on for victory in the closing stages.
First-half tries from Ugo Monye and Ollie Lindsay-Hague helped Quins to a 20-6 half-time lead, with Nick Evans erratic with the boot.
Yellow cards for Quins allowed Irish back into the game, Geraghty with five penalties in all, but Marler’s side held on in a disjointed second period.
Quins began strongly, winning a penalty inside four minutes which former All-Black Evans put narrowly wide.
Irish were then penalised for hands in the ruck on seven minutes, and this time Evans made no mistake putting it straight through the middle.
Quins then capitalised on a strong line-out on 10 minutes, driving the maul forward before the ball was spread out wide to Ugo Monye who crashed over for the first try of the game.
Evans curled another penalty wide, before Shane Geraghty brought Irish back into the game with a flawless kick on 24 minutes.
Exiles’ Eamonn Sheridan found himself in the sin-bin on 26 minutes for a cynical tackle to halt a Quins break, and Evans this time found the target to restore Quins’ advantage.
Geraghty found the target with another penalty on 33 minutes when Matthews entered the ruck from the side, but Quins hit back straight from the restart.
Substitute Lindsay-Hague, on for the injured Monye, shrugged off a weak Topsy Ojo tackle on the left wing and scampered home under the posts.
Evans added the conversion to take Quins 20-6 up at half-time, after Geraghty saw a 56 metre penalty attempt come back off the upright with the final kick before the interval.
Marler’s yellow card came just after the restart for a dangerous tackle, and Geraghty’s long penalty attempt was successful for Irish.
Quins continued to stutter as Evans missed another kick after Ireland’s Tom Court was penalised for not rolling away in the ruck, before Kyle Sinckler joined Marler in the bin for a high tackle on 50 minutes thanks to a TMO decision.
Quins were found offside again in the 53rd minute after some heroic defending on the line, Geraghty adding another three to close the gap.
Mike Brown stopped a certain try with a last ditch tackle in the 57th minute, as referee Greg Garner struggled to control the game.
Irish continued to attack and when George Merrick was penalised for coming in at the side, the near-perfect Geraghty brought Irish within a score with 12 minutes left.
But Quins held on after being denied a late try thanks to another TMO decision, and Evans once again inexcusably missed a routine penalty kick from the resulting scrum to wrap up the win.