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Daly On The Double As Clontarf Sweep Past Shannon

Daly On The Double As Clontarf Sweep Past Shannon

Flanker Cormac Daly contributed two tries, including the bonus point score, during Clontarf's fourth round match against Shannon ©Sam O'Byrne/Clontarf FC

Clontarf are making a habit of this, running in four second half tries to hand Shannon a 27-9 beating in their Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 1A clash at Castle Avenue.


CLONTARF 27 SHANNON 9, Castle Avenue
Scorers: Clontarf: Tries: Cormac Daly 2, Mick Kearney, Ben Murphy; Cons: Conor Kelly 2; Pen: Conor Kelly
Shannon: Pens: Mike Cooke 3
HT: Clontarf 3 Shannon 9

It is the second round running that Clontarf have put on a bonus point blitz after the break, Saturday’s final try coming from Cormac Daly at the end of some brilliant interplay between backs and forwards.

With four wins from four, third-placed ‘Tarf just have that knack of opening up defences and converting their chances, whereas bottom side Shannon are struggling to put points on the board.

It was a positive opening half for Pat O’Connor’s young side, as a trio of penalties from out-half Mike Cooke gave them a 9-3 interval lead with the wind behind them.

Shannon were rewarded for their positive start, Aran Hehir and David Maher both making good ground off lineout possession before Cooke landed a central penalty in the third minute.

A messy set of scrums ended with Clontarf loosehead Ivan Soroka earning a penalty on the edge of the Shannon 22, but the usually reliable Conor Kelly missed the target on this occasion.

Shannon manned a stout defence and kept ‘Tarf scoreless despite the hosts having the lion’s share of possession. There was also s degree of niggle in the game which the match officials had to keep on top of.

Andy Wood’s men got in behind the Shannon defence early in the second quarter, with captain Matt D’Arcy putting Dylan Donnellan through a gap and scrum half Sam Owens having to be hauled down inside the 22.

Shannon skipper Ronan Coffey and Kelvin Brown combined to bring him down, the visitors’ scramble defence preceding a series of penalties – two at lineout time – which brought the Limerick men back into scoring range.

Ed Kelly’s lineout steal ruined a gilt-edged mauling opportunity for Shannon, but a subsequent penalty reversal against Soroka allowed Cooke to make it 6-0 with a fine long-range strike in the 28th minute.

Nine points was the difference after a Sean McCarthy turnover and JJ O’Dea’s infringement for not releasing in the next phase. The left-footed Cooke duly split the posts from outside of the 22.

Despite a Kieran Ryan turnover penalty, ‘Tarf managed to exploit some space towards the end of the first half with both Michael Courtney and Conor Kearns accelerating through.

Shannon flanker Brown managed to hold up Daly past the try-line, but a preceding high tackle from McCarthy on Tony Ryan was turned into three points by Conor Kelly’s final kick of a bruising first 40 minutes.

Leinster Academy winger Aitzol Arenzana King came more into the game on the resumption, winning a penalty and then popping up in attack as Clontarf began to take Shannon through a number of phases.

With Ben Griffin on at tighthead, ‘Tarf forced a scrum penalty, the ensuing pressure near the Shannon line resulting in a 48th-minute try for Daly. He reached over to score despite tackles from Jordan Prenderville and Odhran Ring.

Kelly’s conversion gave ‘Tarf a 10-9 lead, and they were quick to extend it. Hugh Cooney’s turnover led to D’Arcy launching a kick chase and retrieving possession in the Shannon 22.

The forwards took over and Mick Kearney drove powerfully in under the posts for Kelly to convert. The north Dubliners were now in the ascendancy, replacement scrum half Ben Murphy’s sniping run drawing them back deep into Shannon territory.

The visitors showed their defensive grit to keep their line intact, with Brown’s rip in the tackle winning back hard-earned possession. A penalty miss from Kearns kept the margin at eight points.

Shannon repelled another attack, which was built on a Kearns 50:22 kick, but replacement Fionn Gilbert soon charged down a John O’Sullivan kick. The ‘Tarf forwards wore down the defence and Murphy touched down from a close-in ruck.

Kearns knocked the conversion wide with seven minutes remaining, and a power-packed scrum penalty swiftly launched ‘Tarf forward again. Shannon dug deep but could not avoid leaking the bonus point try.

Daly began the move inside the dying seconds, slipping clean through from a ruck to gallop past halfway. His Murphy-led support made more metres before a dummying Griffin rampaged up close and Daly picked from the ruck to score.

CLONTARF: Conor Kearns; Aitzol Arenzana King, Michael Courtney, Matt D’Arcy (capt), Hugh Cooney; Conor Kelly, Sam Owens; Ivan Soroka, Dylan Donnellan, JP Phelan, Ed Kelly, Mick Kearney, Cormac Daly, JJ O’Dea, Tony Ryan.

Replacements: Aidan O’Kane, George Hadden, Fionn Gilbert, Ben Murphy, Tadhg Bird, Ben Griffin.

SHANNON: John O’Sullivan; Jack O’Donnell, Killian Dineen, John Hurley, Dan Hurley; Mike Cooke, Aran Hehir; Kieran Ryan, Jordan Prenderville, Luke Rigney, Ronan Coffey (capt), David Maher, Sean McCarthy, Kelvin Brown, Lee Nicholas.

Replacements: Alex Long, Matt Burke, Odhran Ring, Colm Heffernan, Cian O’Halloran, Alan Flannery.