Shannon once again declared their intent, while Cork Constitution got their season under way in the two Division One fixtures. Read our review of the weekend’s AIB League.
The Shannon tide is one that isn’t easily held back and Lansdowne certainly found this to be so in going down by 13-29 in Lansdowne Road.
The result leaves almost the maximum width between the two sides – Lansdowne in bottom place with no points and Shannon second to Garryowen only on points difference, on nine points.
The game was blown apart in the third quarter when Shannon hit Lansdowne with a three try blitz that comfortably sealed the win. Tom Cregan, Padraig O’Brien and Fiach O’Loughlin bagged tries in that period to add to Mark Tuohy’s earlier five-pointer and so grabbed a bonus point along the way.
‘The good thing we can take out of the game is that when we play rugby we play to a good standard, but we still have a bit to do’ said Shannon coach, Mick Galwey. He said that the high number of provincial players in their squad helps, as ‘they bring back a standard they would be used to with Munster’.
Meanwhile, in the other First Division match, Cork Constitution beat Ballymena 30-20 at Temple Hill to consign the Northern club to surprisingly nether-like regions after two games, while breathing a bit of life into their own challenge. Con scored three tries, through Rory Kenneally and two from Cronan Healy, to Ballymena’s two, from Scott Young and Mark McComish.
In Division Two, the top of the table joust between St. Mary’s and Bective Rangers ended level at 13-13, enabling Dolphin to leapfrog both courtesy of their 25-19 win over Cork neighbours Highfield. Leinster wing John McWeeney bagged St. Mary’s’ try as former Mary’s man Fergal Campion scored 2 penalties and a conversion to thwart his old mates.
Scrumhalf Tomas O’Leary scored his third and fourth league tries for his new club to add to James Storey’s first in Dolphin’s win over Highfield.
Ballynahinch joined Dolphin as the only two clubs to have won their first three matches when they defeated Young Munster in Limerick by 13-10, John Gunson being driven over the line for the crucial score.
Elsewhere there were wins for UL Bohemians (19-14 away to Old Crescent), Midleton (8-3 at home to Terenure), Thomond (20-18 away to Barnhall), UCC (34-0 at home to Old Belvedere) and Malone (10-6 at home to Waterpark).
In the Third Division, Corinthians and Connemara added to the feelgood factor out west when they both claimed wins to fill the top two positions, the only sides with three wins from three outings. Corinthians claimed a bonus point 29-23 win over Instonians including two (lovely!) tries from their second row Alex Casanova. Having led 22-3 at half-time, it got a bit hairy for Corinthians in the second half but they held on for the win and the top position.
Connemara scored three tries in beating Wanderers 24-17, while there were also wins for Banbridge (23-0 at home to Portadown), City of Derry (24-10 away to Bruff), Greystones (28-3 at home to Old Wesley) and Queen’s University (25-19 away to Sunday’s Well). The last mentioned was a particularly good win for the students as the Well had won both their opening encounters with bonus points. What are they feeding students these days?
The Ballina v Clonakilty fixture fell afoul of the weather, while Ards and Skerries fought out a 16-all draw.