Garryowen gave early notice that they plan to spend as little time as possible in Division 1B when they proved far too strong for Shannon in a one-sided Limerick derby at Dooradoyle.
Tonight's comprehensive 21-3 win gave them double bragging rights as the game was also, by mutual agreement, the Limerick Charity Cup semi-final between the clubs.
Shannon could not have hoped for a better start to this Friday Night Lights clash. Garryowen were punished for offside after only three minutes and out-half Tadhg Bennett had the first points of the campaign by landing the penalty.
Bennett was off target with two more penalty chances and after 16 minutes Garryowen, who had lost lock Aaron McCloskey to an early sin-binning, went in front and they never lost the lead.
Back rower Shane Buckley – a week on from playing for Munster in the GUINNESS PRO12 – got the touchdown and out-half Jamie Gavin converted. It remained 7-3 up to the interval.
The Light Blues made the perfect start to the second half when they scored their second try through scrum half Neil Cronin, brother of Ireland international hooker Sean.
He nipped over in the 48th minute, showing a clear pair of heels to a Shannon defence that had lost yellow-carded replacement Ciaran Cunnane.
Gavin converted and following a missed penalty, it was the home side who closed out the game with a third try, this time by hooker Ed Rossiter with Gavin again adding the extras.
They almost secured the bonus point in injury-time, but referee David Wilkinson ruled that the grounding was inconclusive.
Still, it was a highly satisfying start for their new head coach Conan Doyle and a big wake-up call for Shannon who repeatedly coughed up possession with needless mistakes.
Referee: David Wilkinson (IRFU)