For the second week in succession, Shannon have included Munster and Ireland prop Tony Buckley in their starting line-up as they gear up to take on their great rivals Garryowen in tonight’s AIB League encounter at Thomond Park Stadium (kick-off 7.30pm).
Buckley’s fellow Munster player Donnacha Ryan will not be available for Shannon and his place in the second row has been taken by the returning Padraic O’Brien, who missed the club’s Division One win over Buccaneers last weekend due to work commitments.
Coach Geoff Moylan has made one other change in the pack with Gary McNamara coming in for Killian O’Neill in the front row.
In the backs, Shannon have left a vacancy at scrum half to allow club captain Fiach O’Loughlin every opportunity to recover from a knee injury which prevented him from facing Buccs.
A fitness test this afternoon will confirm if he can play or not. Should he fail it, his brother Ross will retain the number 9 jersey.
With Andrew Finn moving to full-back from centre, AIB League veteran Andrew Thompson starts his first league game of the season after fighting off hip and hamstring problems. David O’Donovan is the player to miss out.
A new face but with a very familiar surname takes his place on the Shannon replacements bench for the first time.
Emmet McLoughlin, the son of Gerry McLoughlin, has impressed the management in the seconds’ games and training sufficiently to warrant his inclusion in the matchday squad.
A wing forward, Emmet follows in the illustrious path of his family with brother Fionn having won two AIB League Division One titles with Shannon previously.
SHANNON (v Garryowen): Andrew Finn; Richie Mullane, Andrew Thompson, John Clogan, Stephen Kelly; Tadhg Bennett, Fiach O’Loughlin/Ross O’Loughlin; Gary McNamara, Mike Essex, Tony Buckley, Padraic O’Brien, Fergal Walsh, John O’Connor, Eoghan Grace, David Quinlan.
Replacements: Jason Cronin, Kevin Griffin, Emmet McLoughlin, Francis Broderick, David O’Donovan.