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Blackrock Recover To Beat Shannon

Blackrock Recover To Beat Shannon

Blackrock College climbed off the bottom of the Ulster Bank League Division 1A table thanks to a terrific bonus point triumph over Shannon on Saturday.

Tries from Rob Keogh, Alex Dunlop, Mark Scott-Lennon and Jan-Simon Byrne inspired Eric Miller's men to just their second win of the campaign.

Luke O'Dea and Paddy Butler returned from Munster duty to line out for Shannon at full-back and openside flanker respectively, with John Clogan back from injury at inside centre.

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However, Butler had to leave the Stradbrook pitch early clutching an injured arm and both teams took their time to settle.

Shannon had the advantage of a first half wind and their trusty out-half Tadhg Bennett popped over a ninth minute penalty for the lead score.

Blackrock defended well as the visitors pressed for a try and with their backs handling well, Miller's side enjoyed some decent possession in the Shannon half.

Back chat led to referee Leo Colgan moving a penalty into a kickable range for Bennett and he duly doubled Shannon's lead in the 18th minute.

But ‘Rock hit back just five minutes later, countering from deep as they ran a kick back and then centre Keogh collected his own chip to score in the right corner.

That unconverted try was quickly followed by Bennett’s third penalty goal, awarded for a high tackle on Shannon captain Mossie Lawlor.

Bennett added a fourth before Blackrock, with Des Dillon and Dunlop carrying strongly, missed a kickable chance through Darragh Fitzpatrick.

That came after Shannon prop Les Hogan was sin-binned for coming in at the side of a ruck. Fitzpatrick redeemed himself by slotting a well-struck penalty to reduce the arrears.

Indeed, Blackrock finished the opening period in fine fettle as good angles of running and clever offloading put number 8 Dunlop over out wide for an injury-time try that Fitzpatrick converted.

Shannon forced the pace when the second half got underway, Fitzpatrick seeing yellow as ‘Rock desperately defended their try-line. The resulting penalty was converted by Bennett.

But that only served to rouse the Blackrock attack into action once again. Full-back Andrew Letham steadied the hosts with a penalty following a Shannon offside.

Moments later, a fortunate bounce sent winger Scott-Lennon through for try number three and Shannon’s positive start had been erased.

O’Dea threatened twice before the Shannon forwards used a five-metre lineout put more pressure on the ‘Rock defence. It stood up to the task, winning a crucial turnover.

Gaps appeared in the Shannon rearguard again and the fleet-footed Byrne broke through for the bonus point score with 13 minutes remaining. Letham added the extras for a double scores lead.

The remainder of the game was marred by indiscipline as Dylan Simmonds was sin-binned for the victors, and a melee in the closing minutes resulted in another yellow for ‘Rock and a red for Clogan.

Referee: Leo Colgan (IRFU)