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Division One Semi-Final Preview: Shannon v Garryowen

Division One Semi-Final Preview: Shannon v Garryowen

Two years ago, only a point separated these Limerick rivals at the end of one of the most dramatic play-off games in AIB League history. Expect a similarly tight affair on Saturday as eight-time Division One winners Shannon try to dethrone Garryowen, the defending champions.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION ONE SEMI-FINAL: Saturday, May 3

SHANNON v GARRYOWEN, Coonagh, 3pm (live RTE Two)
Referee:
Alan Lewis (Leinster)

Previous AIB League Meetings: 20 (Shannon won 12, drawn 1, Garryowen won 7); At Coonagh/Thomond Park: 9 (Shannon won 4, drawn 1, Garryowen won 4)

This Season: Saturday, November 3, 2007 – Garryowen 6 Shannon 8, Dooradoyle

Recent AIB League Form: Shannon (most recent games on left hand side): WWLWW
Garryowen: WWWWW

Shannon – Notes: * Shannon finished second in the Division One table this season, with a record of played 15, won 12 and lost 3; They had a points differential of +152
* The story at home in Division One so far this season is played 7 and won 7. They have won their last eleven home games in Division One, nine of them at Coonagh
* They scored the most points (329) and collected the most bonus points for tries (5) in Division One this season. Have managed only one win in their last five Division One games at home to Garryowen
* They first played AIB League rugby against Garryowen in January 1991 – lost 15-12 to them back then at Dooradoyle. They beat Garryowen 22-16 at Saturday’s venue last October in the quarter-final of the Munster Senior Cup
* They have a 50% success rate playing in the league at home to Garryowen. This is the eleventh season of the Division One play-offs – Shannon have made it to five previous semi-finals (four of them at home) and have been successful on every occasion
* They have already won the Munster Senior Cup and the AIB Cup this season and are now seeking a senior treble for the first time
* Centre-cum-out-half Andrew Thompson has to date scored exactly 1200 AIB League points over 14 seasons

Top Points Scorers In 2007/08 AIB League: Andrew Thompson 106 points, David O’Donovan 27 points, Tadhg Bennett 26 points

Top Try Scorers In 2007/08 AIB League: Stephen Kelly 11 tries, David Quinlan 6 tries

Garryowen – Notes: * Garryowen finished third in the Division One table this season, with a record of played 15, won 12, drawn 1 and lost 2; They had a points differential of +138
* The story on the road in Division One so far this season is played 7, won 6 and drawn 1. They were the only Division One side not to suffer a defeat on the road this season. In fact, they are unbeaten in their last eleven AIB League matches away from Dooradoyle
* They have won their last ten Division One games – a new record at the club – and kicked the most penalty goals (38) and conceded the least penalty goals (15) in the top flight this season
* There has been no more than two points separating Garryowen and Shannon in their last three Division One encounters. They are on a hat-trick of away league victories over Shannon this weekend
* Have previously met Saturday’s opponents in a Division One semi-final – they lost 21-20 to them at Dooradoyle in May 2006
* Garryowen have played in six previous Division One play-offs – four at home and two away – and they have won three and lost three of these games
* They won the senior treble last season and are the reigning AIB League Division One champions. To date, their full-back Conor Kilroy has accumulated 945 AIB League points, spread over three different clubs

Top Points Scorers In 2007/08 AIB League: Conor Kilroy 134 points, Gerry Hurley 13 points

Top Try Scorers In 2007/08 AIB League: Keith Earls 6 tries, Conan Doyle 5 tries

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Garryowen to win by less than 7 points

– AIB League statistics supplied by Des Daly