Defending champions Shannon fell to their fourth defeat in AIB League Division 1A as three penalties from full-back Scott Deasy were enough for Cork Constitution to reign at Coonagh on Saturday.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, December 5
SHANNON 8 CORK CONSTITUTION 9, Coonagh
Scorers: Shannon: Try: Stephen Kelly; Pen: Tadhg Bennett
Cork Constitution: Pens: Scott Deasy 3
Shannon, who had Ireland ‘A’ star Felix Jones in the number 15 jersey, thought they had done enough to win this battle of the Munster heavyweights.
But there was a dramatic finish as the game ticked entered its fifth minute of injury-time.
Shannon lost possession at a ruck, Constitution were awarded a scrum on the home 22 and after a few phases they won a penalty 15 metres from the Shannon line. Up stepped full-back Scott Deasy to convert the kick and make it three league wins on the trot for Brian Walsh’s men.
This was a meeting of the third and fourth-placed sides in Division 1A and with so much at stake it was inevitably going to be a close affair.
Munster hopeful Deasy put over a fifth minute penalty for the visitors but Shannon supporters were in confident mood after the lightning quick Stephen Kelly finished off a smart move with a try in the left corner. Out-half Tadhg Bennett was off target with his conversion attempt.
Con, with Billy Holland, Peter O’Mahony and Frank Cogan impressing in the back row, again punished Shannon indiscipline in the 34th minute when Deasy, in wet and windy conditions, put over over his second shot at goal to have the visitors 6-5 ahead at the break.
In a hard-fought second period, a penalty from Bennett after 64 minutes had Shannon in front again and when Cork Con replacement Ed Leamy was sin-binned three minutes later, Shannon looked odds-on to take the win.
But they suffered a heartbreaking finish and are now eight points adrift of leaders St. Mary’s College in the table.
SHANNON: Felix Jones; Richie Mullane, Marcus O’Driscoll, Fionn McLoughlin, Stephen Kelly; Tadhg Bennett, Rob Guerin; Les Hogan, Mike Essex, Gary McNamara, Padraic O’Brien, Fergal Walsh, Paddy Butler, Eoghan Grace, David Quinlan (capt).
Replacements: Killian O’Neill, Jason Cronin, Paul Loughnane, Frankie Mc Namara, David O’Donovan.
CORK CONSTITUTION: Scott Deasy; Richie Lane, Evan Ryan (capt), Tom Gleeson, Cronan Healy; Darragh Lyons, David O’Driscoll; Martin Gately, Robert Quinn, Stephen Archer, Merle O’Connell, Ian Nagle, Billy Holland, Peter O’Mahony, Frank Cogan.
Replacements: Brian Hayes, Ed Leamy, Simon Zebo, Ryan Hasson, Peter Kelleher.
Referee: George Clancy (IRFU)