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Kelly’s Class Helps Shannon Book Home Semi-Final

Kelly’s Class Helps Shannon Book Home Semi-Final

Shannon will meet their arch rivals Garryowen in another heavyweight semi-final clash after securing second place in the final AIB League Division One table on Saturday afternoon.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION ONE: Saturday, April 18

SHANNON 27 DOLPHIN 17, Coonagh

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Scorers: Shannon: Tries: John Clogan, Richie Mullane, Stephen Kelly 2; Cons: Tadhg Bennett 2; Pen: Tadhg Bennett
Dolphin: Tries: Rory Kenneally, Paul Hurley; Cons: Barry Keeshan 2; Pen: Barry Keeshan

Almost twelve months ago, a Keith Earls-inspired Garryowen shocked Shannon with a 31-6 semi-final defeat at Coonagh and revenge will be very much on the menu for Geoff Moylan’s men when the sides meet in the last-four next Saturday.

Shannon will be hoping home advantage will count for a lot more than it did in last season’s encounter and this result will provide them with a timely confidence boost.

Ending Dolphin’s brave bid to reach the play-offs, the Limerick giants enjoyed a ding dong battle with the visitors – particularly in the opening quarter which was scoreless for its entirety.

There was a tricky breeze across the pitch and Dolphin out-half Barry Keeshan secured some good territory for his side before winger Rory Kenneally pounced for his second try in as many games.

Keeshan converted and added a penalty soon after, but Shannon, with their forwards getting on top, fought their way into the lead before half-time.

Tadhg Bennett, the division’s top scorer, landed a penalty before centre John Clogan raced through for an unconverted try.

Keeshan’s penalty restored Dolphin’s advantage but Shannon snapped back to lead 15-10 at the interval, thanks to a seven-pointer from right winger Richie Mullane.

A try out of the top drawer from Limerick Gaelic footballer Stephen Kelly gave Shannon some early impetus in the second half.

One of the most-feared wingers in the league, Kelly has pace to burn and he left the Dolphin cover for dead as he raced up, chipped over the cover and collected his kick for a superbly-taken score.

Bennett tagged on the conversion and Kelly sealed Shannon’s bonus point with another electric try.

Paul Hurley’s late effort, converted by Keeshan, got Dolphin back within bonus-point territory but Dave O’Mahony’s men had to settle for seventh place in the final table, albeit with the comfort of nailing down a spot in Division One Section A next season.