...Shannon prop Les Hogan...
Asecond half try from prop Les Hogan steered Shannon to a 16-3 win overSt. Mary's College on Saturday and back to the top of the Division Onetable. Meanwhile, Munster's Tomas O'Leary touched down in Dolphin's13-3 defeat of Belfast Harlequins.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION ONE: Saturday, November 18
Belfast Harlequins 3 Dolphin 13, Deramore Park
Scorers: Harlequins: Pen: Keith Pyper
Dolphin: Try: Tomas O'Leary; Con: Barry Keeshan; Pens: Keeshan 2
Shannon 16 St. Mary's College 3, Thomond Park
Scorers: Shannon: Try: Les Hogan; Con: Tadhg Bennett; Pens: Bennett 3
St. Mary's: Pen: Jonathan Sexton
A quick glance at the current Division One table will tell you where thestrength lies in the club game's top tier - probably not for the firsttime this season there is an all-Munster top five.
ChampionsShannon occupy the first rung, although their form has been patchy oflate. A fortnight ago, Garryowen ended their cityrivals' 14-game unbeaten home record in the league and CorkConstitution outfought them in a classic Munster Senior Cup semi-final
Mick Galwey's men did do enough at Thomond Park on Saturday to warranttheir 16-3 victory over St. Mary's College, but they were helped in nouncertain terms by Willie Duggan's 61st-minute sin-binning.
Duggan, the son of the former Ireland number eight of thesame name, was carded for pulling down a lineout maul as Shannonpressed for an elusive try.
It came soon after as sniping runs from Mossie Lawlor and Andrew Finncreated enough space for Hogan to barge over through twodefenders. The conversion from young out-half Tadhg Bennett, who earlier kicked three penaltiesto Jonathan Sexton's one, confirmed Shannon's return to winning ways.
There was the sense though that Mary's had let their hosts off thehook. Former Ireland Under-21 international Sexton missed two kickablepenalties, late in the first half when Hogan himself was banished tothe sidelines for excessive use of the boot at a ruck. Both sides areback in league action on December 9.
In Saturday's only other Division One fixture, Munster scrumhalf O'Leary bagged his second try in as many league appearancesas Dolphin saw off Harlequins 13-3 at Deramore Park.
Andy Ward's Quins outfit, who are still without a win four games intothe season, failed to properly assert themselves in the first half withthe backing of a sizeable wind.
Their only score arrived from a penalty from the boot of team captainKeith Pyper, who took over kicking duties from NiallO'Connor. A 30-metre hit from Dolphin's Barry Keeshan saw the sides goin at the break level at 3-3.
Dolphin, soundly beaten by Dungannon two weeks ago, dominated thesecond half and O'Leary raced in at the corner for a 56th-minute tryafter a smart ruck move. Keeshan converted and 'Quins' hopes of a comeback were soon dashed when lock Gareth Rourke was sin-binned. Keeshan tagged on anotherpenalty as the Cork men moved up to fifth in the standings.