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Horan Returns As Shannon Down Dolphin

Horan Returns As Shannon Down Dolphin

Shannon put their off-field problems behind them as they swept to a 32-10 bonus point win over Dolphin at Coonagh on Saturday afternoon.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, January 16

SHANNON 32 DOLPHIN 10, Coonagh

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Scorers: Shannon: Tries: Stephen Kelly, Eoghan Grace 2, Fergal Walsh; Cons: Tadhg Bennett 3; Pens: Tadhg Bennett 2
Dolphin: Tries: Aidan Foley, Denis McCarthy

The reigning AIB League champions impressively clocked up their fourth win in five Division 1A games with Munster and Ireland prop Marcus Horan making a welcome return in Shannon colours.

It was his first game since he was taken off early in Munster’s October victory over Benetton Treviso, complaining of dizziness.

Horan, who has had minor surgery to correct an irregular heartbeat, played the entire 80 minutes for Shannon as they maintained their push for the play-offs in third place. He scrummed down alongside Mike Essex and Gary McNamara in the hosts’ front row.

Dolphin, who lost by ten points at this venue last April, went in front with a try from prop Aidan Foley midway through the first half.

But penalty goals from out-half Tadhg Bennett in the 23rd and 40th minutes had the Limerick side 6-5 in front at the break.

Missing the grunt of James Coughlan and Nick Williams up front and the guidance of skipper Barry Keeshan at out-half, Dolphin did well to hit back with a try from stand-in number 10 Denis McCarthy, five minutes into the second half.

However, Shannon responded in superb style with four tries in little over a quarter-of-an-hour.

Ireland Sevens international Eoghan Grace was rewarded for an energetic display when he dotted down after 59 and 65 minutes and powerful lock Fergal Walsh also helped himself to a try.

Speedy winger Stephen Kelly had grabbed Shannons first try in the 49th minute – his sixth of the campaign – and from that point onwards it was a matter of working for the bonus point which came courtesy of Grace’s second.

Bennett converted three of the four tries, leaving a shellshocked Dolphin with little to play for in the final quarter.