Dungannon suffered one of their heaviest defeats for some time when they went down 49-3 to Cork Constitution in AIB League Division One last Saturday. Indeed, it was Cork Con’s first victory at Stevenson Park since 1995 and the result saw Dungannon slip to 14th in the 16-team table.
The Tyrone club now have the second worst defensive record in the top flight and will have to raise their game considerably if they are to score an away win over Shannon this weekend.
With the top eight teams entering Division 1A next season, John Andrews’ men have serious ground to make up but they certainly have the players and ability to make that required surge.
‘Gannon just avoided relegation last season and Andrews, in his second year as player-coach, does not want to have to repeat those final day heroics.
“The boys can play decent rugby and score points but, frustratingly, we have leaked in defence. That is something we are working on at the moment,” he said.
“We beat Shannon last season. With home advantage and us down the table, they will fancy their chances of winning on Saturday but it’s our final league game before the Six Nations and we intend to give it everything we’ve got.”
‘Gannon’s Ireland Under-20-capped winger Chris Cochrane shipped an injury last week and his attacking skills will be missed if he does not make it.
AIB Club internationals Glen Telford, Paul Magee and Richard McCarter are sure to give the Shannon backs a testing time, while Neville Magee and Derek Hall are amongst the best flankers in the division. Andrews will need his entire team at their best on Saturday.