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Cork Con Win But Shannon Take Bonus Point

Cork Con Win But Shannon Take Bonus Point

Shannon picked up a valuable losing bonus point after a spirited second half display at Coonagh saw them cut Cork Constitution’s winning margin down to six points.

These famous Munster clubs boast 13 All-Ireland League Division 1 titles between them, but are in the midst of contrasting times.

Shannon are now bottom of the pile in Division 1A after their third defeat of the current campaign, while defending champions Constitution are four points clear at the top of the table, on the back of a four-match winning streak.

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The 53-0 battering Shannon received at the hands of St. Mary's College a week ago left the Limerick giants with a hangover and they began this provincial derby in very sluggish manner.

Their speedster Stephen Kelly was ruled out because of injury which afforded Sean Armstrong a first start on the left wing. Shannon had better news with the return of out-half Tadhg Bennett from a long term injury.

The home side got off to a poor start and might have fallen behind after only two minutes, but Cork Constitution winger Richie Lane missed a penalty chance.

Three minutes later, Lane made amends when he sent over his first successful kick of the afternoon. He increased his influence on proceedings when intercepting a pass on the 22 and racing in for a try which he also converted.

That was after eight minutes and in an action-packed opening quarter hour, Bennett missed a penalty before another Lane effort had Brian Walsh's men 13-0 in front.

Bennett kicked Shannon's only first half points, six minutes before half-time, by which stage their inside centre John Clogan had been yellow carded.

13-3 down at the break, Colm Tucker jnr's side were facing an uphill battle despite not having done much wrong in the opening 40 minutes.

Lane landed his third penalty, two minutes into the second half, but newcomer Armstrong raised Shannon's hopes by scoring only their second try of the league run, which Bennett converted. He got over after team captain Fergal Walsh had attacked the blindside of a ruck.

The hosts were rocked back on their heels in the 47th minute when Cyprien Jouve got in for Cork Con's second try, which Lane turned into a seven-pointer.

Stephen Archer drove forward in the build-up, and then the 20-year-old Jouve weaved through a gap and sprinted clear to score at the posts.

Credit to Shannon, they got back in the game when their former captain Mossie Lawlor crossed in the right corner, coming up to the hour mark. Lawlor profited from good work by David O'Donovan and Duncan Casey, after a loose Cork Con lineout had been gathered by Leonard Mullane.

Lane completed his 21-point haul and effectively sealed the result, with a 76th minute. However, Shannon rallied and a last-gasp try from influential number 8 David Quinlan gave them a hard-earned bonus point.

Referee: Paul Haycock (IRFU)