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Big Match Focus: Shannon v Garryowen

Big Match Focus: Shannon v Garryowen

Never mind the floodlights, the heat will definitely be on for Shannon and Garryowen on Friday night as, after poor starts to the AIB League campaign for both clubs, they meet in a monumental derby clash at Thomond Park Stadium.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION ONE: Friday, October 17

SHANNON v GARRYOWEN, Thomond Park Stadium, 7.30pm
Referee: David Keane (Leinster)

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Previous AIB League Meetings: 21 (Shannon won 12, drawn 1, Garryowen won 8); At Coonagh/Thomond Park: 10 (Shannon won 4, drawn 1, Garryowen won 5)

Last Season: Saturday, November 3, 2007 – Garryowen 6 Shannon 8, Dooradoyle; Saturday, May 3, 2008 – Semi-final – Shannon 6 Garryowen 31, Coonagh

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

Shannon – Notes: * Shannon are currently 11th in the Division One table, with one win in two games. They have a points differential of -10
* They finished second in the Division One table last season, with a record of played 15, won 12 and lost 3, before losing to Garryowen at the semi-final stage
* They have won twelve of their last 13 home games in Division One, eleven of them at Coonagh
* Have managed only one win in their last six 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 have a 40% winning rate playing in the league at home to Garryowen. This is the twelfth season of the Division One play-offs – Shannon have made it to six previous semi-finals (five of them at home)
* Their 31-6 defeat to Garryowen last May was their first ever semi-final loss at home in the competition
* They won the Munster Senior Cup and the AIB Cup last season. But they lost in the second round of this season’s Munster Senior Cup to Cork Constitution (21-7) – they will face Blackrock College in the AIB Cup’s second round on November 1
* Centre-cum-out-half Andrew Thompson has to date scored exactly 1200 AIB League points. This is the Laois man’s 15th season of AIB League rugby

Top Points Scorer In 2008/09 AIB League: Tadhg Bennett 34 points; Top Try Scorer In 2008/09 AIB League: Richie Mullane 2 tries

Garryowen – Notes: * Garryowen are currently 12th in the Division One standings, with no wins from two games. They have a points differential of -5 but boast two losing bonus points
* Last season, as defending champions, they reached the final before losing 18-8 to Cork Constitution. They finished the regulation campaign with a record of played 15, won 12, drawn 1 and lost 2
* The story on the road in Division One last season was played 8, won 7 and drawn 1. They were unbeaten in their last eleven AIB League matches away from Dooradoyle before going down to Con in the final
* Before last season’s 31-6 semi-final win over Shannon, there had been no more than two points separating Garryowen and Shannon in their previous three Division One encounters
* They are gunning for their fourth straight away league victory over Shannon this weekend
* Garryowen famously won the senior treble in the 2006/07 season, lifting the AIB League trophy, the AIB Cup and the Munster Senior Cup
* Former Connacht flanker Paul Neville has captained the club for the past two seasons
* The club’s technical director, Greig Oliver, is a former Scotland scrum half, while ex-Ireland international Philip Danaher is chairman of rugby at Dooradoyle
* To date, Garryowen’s full-back Conor Kilroy has accumulated 978 AIB League points, spread over three different clubs

Top Points Scorer In 2008/09 AIB League: Conor Kilroy 21 points; Top Try Scorers In 2008/09 AIB League: Willie Staunton, Kieran Lewis, Lorcan Bourke, Conor Kilroy 1 each

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