Shannon seem to be hitting their stride under Marcus Horan, the ex-Munster and Ireland prop proudly watching on as his young team emerged as 32-10 bonus point winners over Belfast Harlequins in Division 1B today.
With experienced duo David O’Donovan and Tadhg Bennett directing operations from half-back, Shannon stormed to their third successive victory against the division’s bottom side.
More known as a back-three specialist, O’Donovan has shown himself to be a very capable scrum half in recent weeks. He touched down on the stroke of half-time at Deramore Park, adding to earlier tries from Stephen Fitzgerald (pictured below) and Richie Mullane.
That gave the visitors a 22-5 advantage and although Belfast Harlequins captain Neil McComb got over for his second unconverted score, Marcus Horan’s charges bagged the bonus point with Munster winger Fitzgerald completing his brace in the 42nd minute and a penalty try completing their tally.
Dublin University dominated from start to finish as they hammered Dolphin 44-3 at Irish Independent Park to make it five wins in-a-row.
Out-half Jack McDermott opened the scoring with a fifth minute try, and then a Conor Kearns break paved the way for flanker Brian du Toit to touch down on the quarter hour mark.
McDermott accelerated away from halfway and his inside pass put centre Seb Fromm over in the 21st minute. A Cian McGovern penalty cut the gap to 17-3 for half-time, but Fromm’s second try of the afternoon arrived just four minutes into the second period.
With the Trinity pack maintaining a high work-rate, American international winger Tim Maupin secured the bonus point in the 59th minute and Tony Smeeth’s young guns added a final gloss with further touchdowns from Max McFarland and Maupin.
Old Wesley put an end to their two-match losing streak by winning a tightly-contested south Dublin derby 36-22 at Donnybrook.
Visitors Blackrock College were just a single point behind at the interval, trailing 16-15 with Sean Coughlan setting up a try for debutant centre Hugh Godson Treacy and scoring one himself.
Nonetheless, Barry McLaughlin slotted his fourth successful penalty and converted out-half Alan Large’s intercept effort to move Wesley 26-15 clear, and replacement Mark Robinson soon burrowed over to put 16 points between the sides.
‘Rock set up a closely-fought final 10 minutes with a converted try from lock John Burke off a lineout maul, but winger McLaughlin broke along the touchline and dived over in the corner to seal the result for Wesley. His clinching try took his already impressive league tally to 103 points after seven rounds.
Terry Kennedy’s late try earned a 27-24 bonus point success for Division 1B leaders St. Mary’s College as they battled past a durable UL Bohemians team at Annacotty.
Bohs’ Kiwi out-half Rick McKenna finished with 14 points, landing four penalties and converting full-back Alan Rossiter’s early touchdown. The hosts led 10-0 initially, but two converted tries had the Dubliners 17-16 ahead at half-time.
Ryan O’Loughlin, Barry O’Flanagan and replacement scrum half David Fanagan, who had a very positive impact off the bench, helped themselves to tries, while the fleet-footed Cian Aherne notched Bohs’ second of the day.
Another accurate penalty strike from McKenna had UL leading 24-22, but Ireland Sevens international Kennedy pounced out wide to edge St. Mary’s back in front and a late penalty attempt, which would have given Bohs a draw, went wide.
Meanwhile, Ballymena lost their unbeaten record to St. Mary’s in the previous round but they quickly got back to winning ways (15-14) in tonight’s floodlit clash with Buccaneers at Dubarry Park.
Buccs winger Rory O’Connor weighed in with his sixth try of the league campaign and Ballymena scrum half Glen Baillie also touched down during an evenly contested first half. A penalty from Baillie’s half-back partner Ritchie McMaster (pictured above) split the sides at the break – 8-5.
Centre Alan Gaughan knocked over three second half penalties for the Pirates, who had lost their last two matches. However, number 8 Matthew Rea’s second try in the space of a week, converted by young replacement Andrew Magrath, decided the game in favour of the second-placed Braidmen.