Shannon's proud eight-game unbeaten record came to an end on Saturday as Clontarf got the better of the reigning AIB League Division One champions in a 32-18 victory.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION ONE: Saturday, January 21
CLONTARF 32 SHANNON 18, Castle Avenue
Scorers: Clontarf: Ben Gissing, Niall O'Brien, Peter O'Brien, Darragh O'Shea, Breffni O'Donnell; Cons: O'Shea 2; Drop: Peter O'Brien
Shannon: Tries: Tony Buckley, Fionn McLoughlin; Con: Dave Delaney; Pens: Delaney 2
The rampant north Dubliners tallied up four tries before the break, on the way to a record ninth consecutive bonus point of the AIB League campaign.
Leinster lock Ben Gissing and three of Clontarf speediest backs - Niall O'Brien, Peter O'Brien and Darragh O'Shea - crossed the visitors' whitewash to establish a 22-6 linterval lead for Phil Werahiko's side.
Fly half Peter O'Brien's try was the pick of the bunch - former Shannon scrum half Fiach O'Loughlin begun the move, Gissing carried, winger Derek Keane, the top flight's top try-scorer (7), scorched up the left wing and then a neat interchange with Marc Hewitt saw O'Brien put away in the corner. The score typified the type of rugby 'Tarf have been playing this season.
Shannon's first half points came from two penalties from Dave Delaney.
The Limerick men improved after the break, but only after centre Breffni O'Donnell had got in for 'Tarf's fifth try. Ireland Under-21 prop Rob Sweeney did the donkey work with a 15-metre carry and O'Donnell sped up on his shoulder to collect the pass and scorer in the left corner. O'Shea converted for 29-6.
On 57 minutes, Munster-contracted prop Tony Buckley managed to notch Shannon's first try from a close-in maul. Peter O'Brien's well-hit drop goal from 40 metres really put the hosts out of the sight.
Shannon though, had the final say when winger Fionn McLoughlin got in for an 80th-minute try. The result moved 'Tarf up to third, while Shannon lost their grip on top spot. Mick Galwey's men are second, three points behind their unbeaten Limerick rivals Garryowen.