Title holders Shannon failed to qualify for the AIB League Division 1 play-offs, and all because they failed to convert the only try of the game at Coonagh before a huge attendance.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, April 10
SHANNON 8 GARRYOWEN 9, Coonagh
Scorers: Shannon: Try: Paddy Butler; Pen: Mossie Lawlor
Garryowen: Pens: Gerry Hurley 3
Despite the glorious spring conditions, these great Limerick rivals opted to play mainly through the strengths of their forwards.
Like all local derbies between these two sides, try-scoring opportunities were few and far between and by half-time only three penalties had been landed.
When Garryowen prop Rory Brosnan was yellow carded after eleven minutes’ play, Shannon capitalised when their full-back and captain Mossie Lawlor landed a penalty.
But Garryowen led 6-3 at the interval thanks to penalties after 21 and 25 minutes from their out-half Gerry Hurley, the second coming after a good break from centre Kevin Hartigan.
A minute into the second half, Hurley landed his third penalty. Like true champions, Shannon struck back immediately when their outstanding back rower Paddy Butler, a member of this year’s successful Ireland Under-20 side, got in for the only try of the game out wide on the left.
But former Munster player Lawlor missed the conversion, ten metres in from the touchline, as the swirling wind took his effort wide.
Garryowen’s Ed Mackey was yellow carded after 49 minutes but, even in his absence, Garryowen held firm to earn the bragging rights from this end-of-season showdown.
The result means Shannon have finished fifth in the table on 34 points, level with sixth-placed Garryowen. The play-offs will be contested by Cork Constitution, St. Mary’s College, Dolphin and Division 1B table toppers Old Belvedere.
Dolphin went down 23-13 to Cork Con in their final game, so a win here for Shannon would have been enough for them to progress to the semi-finals.
SHANNON: Mossie Lawlor (capt); Richie Mullane, Fionn McLoughlin, John Clogan, Stephen Kelly; Gareth Quinn McDonogh, Frankie McNamara; Les Hogan, Mike Essex, Kevin Griffin, Padraic O’Brien, Fergal Walsh, Paddy Butler, Eoghan Grace, David Quinlan.
Replacements used: Luke O’Dea for Mullane, Andrew Finn for Clogan (both 49 mins), John O’Connor for O’Brien (63).
GARRYOWEN: Ronan O’Mahony; Ian Hanley, Conan Doyle (capt), Kevin Hartigan, Alan Gaughan; Gerry Hurley, Conor Murray; Rory Brosnan, Mike Sherry, Declan Lavery, Frank McKenna, Ed Mackey, Paul Neville, Anthony Kavanagh, Dave Sherry.
Replacements used: JP Cooney for Brosnan (32 mins), Lorcan Bourke for Hanley (48), Mark Melbourne for Mackey (60), Darren Kavanagh for Lavery (64).
Referee: John Carvill (IRFU)