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In Pics: Shannon Celebrations

In Pics: Shannon Celebrations

Click here for photos of Shannon’s celebrations of their third consecutive AIB League Division One final win at Lansdowne Road on Saturday.

Pictured above: The Lansdowne Road residents must be used to this by now – Shannon collecting the Division One trophy and the ever reliant Frankie Flynn belting ‘There Is An Isle’ out into the summer air.

Shannon captain Colm McMahon holds the cup aloft as ‘There Is An Isle’ rings out around headquarters.

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Shannon coach Mick Galwey and Munster back row Stephen Keogh congratulate each other on a job well done. Reflecting on title win number 2 in only his second season in charge of Shannon, Galwey conceded: “It was a great performance – we obviously got the bounce of the ball but we hit the ground running and it paid off.

“We felt if we could deny them the scorers – Clontarf were averaging four or five tries every game – we’d win it. So it had to start with the defence and fair dues to our lads, they kept going forward right until the end.”

Shannon’s Andrew Thompson and Gary McNamara show their joy. It was a particularly memorable day for the 32-year-old Thompson, who hails from Borris-in-Ossory in Portlaoise. Thompson, who has been playing All-Ireland League rugby since 1993, was picking up a record eighth League medal. His second half try took his record Division One points tally to 999.

When asked why Thompson was not put forward to take the conversion and perhaps go through the 1000-point barrier, Galwey wryly said: “It didn’t cross my mind to change kickers; then again, it might have. But if he had broken the 1000-point mark, maybe he would have retired. Now he has to come back next season, and we’ll make sure he gets through the barrier!”

Victorious captain Colm McMahon is carried shoulder high by Andrew Thompson. McMahon, who missed eight League games after injurying his ankle in the opener back in October, explained his feelings afterwards: “Last year I played in most of the games – this year I was captain and played in a lot less. From an injury point of view, it was disappointing, but I can’t say I’m disappointed with this result.

“Clontarf scored a huge number of tries over the season. They had a great record coming into this game, and we knew it was going to be a hard grind. They put us under a lot more pressure than the scoreline suggested, but our defence was brilliant. We held out on a couple of scary occasions, and that was probably the winning of the game.”

Prop Gary McNamara and scrum half Frankie McNamara, who have both played for Shannon since their were Under-12s, celebrate another play-off final success. Both were picking up their fourth League winners’ medal – the 29-year-old Frankie has two from Shannon’s famous four-in-a-row in the 1990s.

Mick Galwey was quick to hand out the plaudits in what was incredibly Shannon’s 27th consecutive win in a final of any description since 1989.

The Kerryman said: “Ian Sherwin came in with us this year and he’s been a great help, working with the backs. All the management and people at the club, they deserve a tremendous amount of credit for the work they do. I’m delighted for them and the players. On the big occasions we always seem to rise up to it and that’s the sign of a good team.”

Clontarf coach Phil Werahiko admitted his side played well below par in the final. The New Zealander said: “We made more mistakes (today) than we probably made in half the season. They (Shannon) haven’t been like that all year but today they delivered.” And how they did.

Just who can stop Shannon? 27 final wins since their 1989 Munster Senior Cup final defeat by Cork Constitution, it’s just a phenomenal record for a phenomal club.

**All photos by Lorraine O’Sullivan and Andrew Paton of Inpho Photography**