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Bennett Drives Shannon To Much-Needed Win

Bennett Drives Shannon To Much-Needed Win

The kicking prowess of Tadhg Bennett proved decisive on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch on Saturday, as his 17-point haul gave Shannon a vital four points from a tight and tense Ulster Bank League encounter with Lansdowne.

In an even opening to the contest, respective out-halves Craig Ronaldson and Tadhg Bennett had opportunities to open the scoring with penalties inside the opposition's half, but both kicks came up short.

Bennett was successful ten minutes in, however, as his 25-metre score from a place-kick came at a time that the visitors were really coming into the game.

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Shannon were putting a huge amount of pressure on Mike Ruddock's side, and it finally paid off in the 18th minute when player-coach Stephen Keogh burst over the line after excellent approach play by scrum half Rob Guerin and James Murphy.

Bennett increased the Shannon advantage to 13 points with eight first half minutes remaining but, just when it seemed like they were going to have it all their own way, Lansdowne came into their own.

Replacement John Cooney, who deputised for the injured Ronaldson in the early stages, got in for a 39th minute try which was converted by centre Mark Roche.

Bennett did settle Shannon down again with his third penalty of the afternoon, but Lansdowne finished the first half in style as Roche got in for a try underneath the posts, and even though he came up short with the subsequent conversion, the margin was now down to four – 16-12 – as the half-time whistle was blown.

This set the tie up nicely for the second period, and despite a bright start from Shannon, it was Lansdowne who next added to the scoreboard. Full-back and skipper Ross McCarron got through in the left corner after a terrific
individual run.

Roche was once again short with the conversion, however, and he was left to rue this somewhat, as Bennett bolstered the Limerick men just after the hour mark with another assured penalty.

Bennett also split the posts from 40 metres heading into the final quarter, putting Shannon in pole position to end a four-match losing streak in Division 1A.

Lansdowne did battle right until the end, but Shannon's defence held firm to help them record a much-needed win on the road.

Referee: Barrie O'Connell (IRFU)