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Garryowen Complete League Double Over Shannon

Garryowen Complete League Double Over Shannon

Garryowen, who play Cork Constitution in next week’s Munster Senior Cup final, claimed a 34-17 bonus point victory over Shannon in the Division 1B derby clash at Thomond Park.

Out-half Jamie Gavin had a very good night with the boot, scoring 19 points via a try, four conversions and two penalties as he took his haul for the league campaign to 92.

Having scored three tries in the first half, at the end of which they led 24-5, the Light Blues had to wait until the final minutes to secure their bonus point from a penalty try.

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Garryowen led from the start when Gavin landed a penalty and winger James Frawley raced in for a 20th minute try which Gavin brilliantly converted from the touchline for a 10-0 lead.

Munster's Paddy Butler touched down in the corner from a traditional Shannon-style maul, but that was as good as it got for Ian Sherwin's side as Garryowen soon took complete control.

The visitors' heavier pack, led by captain Dave Sherry, JP Cooney and New Zealander Josh Hrstich, took the game to their Shannon counterparts and provided the platform for a number of scores.

Impressive half-backs Neil Cronin and Gavin helped themselves to a try apiece as Shannon fell 19 points adrift, as the Munster 'A' scrum half sprung through around the side of a ruck for a well-taken 27th minute effort.

Gavin converted and also added the extras to his own try soon after. Garryowen kept the scoreboard ticking over with another Gavin penalty, five minutes into the second period.

Shannon, who lost 21-3 to Garryowen in the opening round, showed their battling qualities as the likes of Butler and captain John Shine led by example up front.

They briefly threatened a comeback when full-back David O'Donovan finished well for an unconverted 53rd minute effort, with the Shannon back-line expertly stretching the Garryowen defence.

A scuffle in the Shannon 22 preceded what Frawley thought was his second try of the night, but referee Mark Connolly disallowed it and duly sin-binned Garryowen flanker Darren Mulcair.

However, Garryowen's forward strength was such that their seven-man pack forced the issue through a series of close-in scrum which led to a deserved penalty try and the all-important bonus point.

The five-point return gives Conan Doyle's side a timely boost after their loss to leaders Galwegians last time out, and with their December 27 cup final date with Cork Con fast approaching.

Shine responded late on with his fourth try of the league season, but it mattered little in the end as Shannon's seventh league defeat sees them fall to ninth in the table.

Referee: Mark Connolly (IRFU)