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Horan Returns, But Garryowen Outgun Shannon

Horan Returns, But Garryowen Outgun Shannon

Marcus Horan returned to competitive action on Friday night when he played 51 minutes for Shannon in their Ulster Bank League Division 1A clash with Garryowen under the Dooradoyle floodlights.

The Munster and Ireland prop, who is working his way back from a wrist injury, made his first appearance for Shannon since lining out twice for the Limerick club last season.

A crowd of over 2,000 watched these local rivals battle it out for the Ulster Bank League points, and they certainly got value for money.

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But even Horan's efforts were not sufficient to halt a revitalised Garryowen side who took control in the second half to put their earlier poor form in the league behind them.

Declan Cusack, who landed seven conversions and a penalty when Munster scored 64 points against Esher at this venue a week ago, picked up where he left off with his kicking boots.

Twice inside the opening quarter he put points on the board for an ideal start for Garryowen. His first successful kick, in the fifth minute, gave Garryowen the ideal start and the home fans were in vocal mood when he landed a second penalty in the 17th minute.

Shannon lost their out-half and top points scorer, Tadhg Bennett, to an early injury and youngster Gareth Quinn McDonogh came on in his place.

The visitors had more problems, coming up to the half hour mark, when prop Kevin Griffin was sin-binned for playing the ball on the ground at a ruck.

But Quinn McDonogh kept the Parish side's hopes alive when he landed a 39th minute penalty and almost immediately the visitors struck again.

This time, prop Les Hogan, who went in to replace Griffin to prevent the scrums being uncontested, gained possession and he sent flying winger and Limerick footballer Stephen Kelly in for a try to have Shannon 8-6 in front at the interval – against the run of play.

But Garryowen were quickly out of the traps in the second half. Winger Alan Gaughan got in for a a 47th minute after Shannon's Colm McMahon had been caught in possession.

Cusack converted and the Light Blues never looked back, with their second row partnership of Frank McKenna and Aaron McCloskey stamping its mark on the game.

The outstanding Paul Neville stormed in for another Garryowen try and then, with 62 minutes on the clock, it was the turn of impressive hooker Mike Sherry to touch down. Cusack added the extras for a 25-8 turnaround.

Shannon hunted for a late losing bonus point. Front rower Hogan managed to get over for a 78th minute try following a close range lineout, but Paul Cunningham's men were the ones celebrating at the end of a sporting contest.

The win – Garryowen's first in five league games – has lifted them off the bottom of the table and up to sixth place, with Shannon now just a point ahead of them.

Referee: Alan Lewis (IRFU)