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Clontarf Surge Away In Second Half

Clontarf Surge Away In Second Half

Clontarf ran in three second half tries to race away from Division 1A rivals Shannon in this well-contested tie at Castle Avenue on Saturday afternoon.

Both Gareth Quinn McDonogh and Richie Lane missed early penalties in a first quarter which was mostly dominated by the hosts, with Sam Cronin and Frank Cogan leading by example.

They made the breakthrough in the 13th minute as the Shannon defence was worn down by the phase-building and flanker Barry O'Mahony took his opportunity well. Lane converted for a 7-0 lead.

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Tadhg Bennett failed with a long range penalty attempt for the visitors as ‘Tarf maintained their momentum, doing well to keep possession through the phases.

But Shannon responded on the half hour mark, Richie Mullane hacking ahead for Duncan Casey to reclaim possession and the visitors attacked out to the right where player-coach Stephen Keogh passed for David O’Donovan to score.

The full-back’s try went unconverted but Bennett landed a penalty for a scrum infringement to move the Limerick side into a brief lead.

Full-back Lane landed a penalty right on the stroke of half-time to edge ‘Tarf 10-8 ahead and Andy Wood’s men tightened their grip on the game after the resumption.

Killian Lett blew an early try-scoring chance with a loose pass, but flanker Simon Crawford cut through in the 48th minute to touch down after Shannon had initially held up ‘Tarf twice close to their line.

In the 67th minute, Crawford was at it again. This time he picked from the base of a ruck on the Shannon 22 and caught the defence napping. Lane tagged on the conversion and the lead looked decisive at 22-8.

A Les Hogan break should have amounted to more but the Shannon prop lacked support, and ‘Tarf were celebrating their bonus point score just three minutes later.

Centre Lett was the man to get it, following up on Evan Ryan's aerial bomb to gather the breaking ball and scoot over unchallenged.

Lane converted and having dominated possession, the hosts’ five-point reward was deserved given their clinical finishing.

Shannon, who are down in sixth place in the standings, will hope to bounce back at home to Lansdowne next Saturday, while 'Tarf, who are just a point adrift of leaders Young Munster, face a Dublin derby against St. Mary's.

Referee: Alain Rolland (IRFU)