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Shannon Move Closer To Top Flight Survival

Shannon Move Closer To Top Flight Survival

Shannon are still not clear of the threat of relegation in Ulster Bank League Division 1A, but this was a huge win for them at Coonagh against fellow strugglers Blackrock College.

In an error-strewn affair, both sides missed good scoring chances and the nerves were obvious so great was the risk of defeat.

Shannon's player-coach Stephen Keogh looked to have got in for a fourth minute try but instead his side were awarded a scrum. They won possession and it brought them the first of their two tries.

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Number 8 David Quinlan picked up at the base, linked with Rob Guerin who passed to excellent full-back Richie Mullane who, in turn, sent winger Conor Cunnane over in the corner.

The nearest 'Rock came to a score in the first half was a long range penalty effort by centre Rob Keogh which dropped short of the posts.

Shannon had to wait until the 60th minute for their next score. They added a penalty from out-half Tadhg Bennett who popped over another one, two minutes later, from 35 metres and out to the right.

Bennett missed an easy penalty chance before Blackrock were punished for a scrum infringement and Bennett pushed the scoreline out to 14-3.

All that was left for Blackrock was to fight for a losing bonus point but their efforts came to nothing. Two minutes into stoppage time, scrum half Guerin got in for a try which Bennett again converted to give Shannon their most significant win of what has been a disappointing season for them.

Keogh, a tower of strength of his side, said afterwards: “I wouldn't say the feeling is one of relief because 'Belvo won today and it's down to the wire next weekend.

“We have to go down and beat Dolphin. We said inside in the dressing room that it's only half-time, there is another half to play.

“It was a step forward, but we still have a lot to do. We have another big game coming up. That is our sole focus now. We are not going to get too carried away by this result.”

Despite enjoying dominance in the scrum and the lion's share of possession, Shannon struggled to reflect this on the scoreboard and Keogh admitted that this has been an issue throughout the league run.

“That is our problem all season. We are working so hard to get the scores. You cannot fault the honesty of the lads.

“We just needed a bit more composure inside their 22. The players are desperate to score and desperate to win.

“The thought of being relegated isn't easy. But when you are backed into a corner, you can either lie down or come out fighting, so boys have to take the pressure of where we are and see how they react.”

Referee: David Wilkinson (IRFU)