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St. Mary’s Sweep Shannon Aside With Six-Try Salvo
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St. Mary’s Sweep Shannon Aside With Six-Try Salvo

St. Mary’s Sweep Shannon Aside With Six-Try Salvo

St. Mary’s College showed little mercy to visitors Shannon as they coasted to a six-try 45-12 triumph at Templeville Road. Peter Smyth’s side did almost all of the damage in the first half during which they scored five tries for a 35-7 lead.

In dry and sunny conditions, St. Mary's played second fiddle to Shannon during the early exchanges and it took some well-organised defence to keep the Limerick men out initially.

But Marcus Horan's young outfit got over the try-line in the eighth minute, a series of drives paving the way for flanker John Shine to get over and the conversion was tagged on by centre Shane Airey.

That concession sparked St. Mary's into action and they responded with a mammoth 35 unanswered points before the interval. Young half-backs Dave Fanagan and Sean Kearns dictated play behind a pack that dominated the set pieces, with Kearns also excelling off the kicking tee with a perfect seven-from-seven record.

The Dubliners opened their account in the 13th minute with big lock Stephen Bradshaw out-muscling a couple of defenders to make the line after a couple of fine runs from Mark Sexton and Leinster's Darragh Fanning.

Kearns converted and Fanning was next over the whitewash, grabbing his fourth try in two league games thanks to a quickly-taken penalty from centre Sexton and a neat break and final pass from Fanagan.

The same three players were involved in the next try, winger Fanning booting the ball 60 metres downfield and retrieving it before combining with scrum half Fanagan who gave Sexton the opportunity to finish off a lightning-quick breakout effort.

Peter Smyth's charges added two more converted tries before the half-time whistle. A Shannon sin-binning was ruthlessly punished as St. Mary's kicked to the corner and drew successive maul infringements, leading to a penalty try.

Try number five followed from the speedy Ryan O'Loughlin whose crisp finish rewarded some neat interplay between Bradshaw and loosehead prop Brian McGovern, a key cog in a well-oiled home scrum.

This was already a very encouraging performance from the hosts, especially given they were missing the services of Kevin Sheahan and Richie Sweeney up front and Philip Brophy and Marcus O'Driscoll behind the scrum.

The second period was a rather slow-burning affair, with St. Mary's mostly content with their lot. A 47th minute penalty from the boot of Kearns nudged them further clear at 38-7.

The intensity and tempo of the game dropped noticeably and a late pushover try from their excellent scrum – number 8 Mark Fallon got the touchdown – wrapped up the scoring for the home side. In injury-time, Shannon gained some consolation with an unconverted try out wide from recent Munster debutant Stephen Fitzgerald.

The result was a very positive way for St. Mary's to sign off at Templeville Road before they embark on successive road trips to Blackrock College, Dublin University and Buccaneers in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Shannon will hope for a better outcome at home to high-flying Ballymena next Saturday.

Referee: Kieran Barry (IRFU)

Lineups Scorers

Match Lineups

Home Team

Ray Crotty; Conor Toolan, Ryan O'Loughlin, Mark Sexton, Darragh Fanning; Sean Kearns, Dave Fanagan; Brian McGovern, Rory O'Donovan, Rob Sweeney (capt), Ciaran Ruddock, Stephen Bradshaw, David O'Connor, Barry O'Flanagan, Mark Fallon.

Replacements: Michael Elliot-Murray, Tom O'Reilly, Ian Cullinane, Ivan Dineen, Robbie Glynn.

Away Team

Ronan McKenna; Richie Mullane, Sean Monahan, Shane Airey, Stephen Fitzgerald; Tadhg Bennett, Dave Evans; Conor Glynn, Simon Malone, Niall Horan, Frank Bradshaw-Ryan, Sean McCarthy, Brian Downey, John Shine, Lee Nicholas (capt).

Replacements: Luke O'Halloran, Tony Cusack, Aaron Broderick, Jamie Moore, Will Leonard.

Match Scorers

Home Team

Tries: Darragh Fanning, Mark Sexton, Stephen Bradshaw, Penalty try, Ryan O'Loughlin, Mark Fallon; Cons: Sean Kearns 6; Pen: Sean Kearns

Away Team

Tries: John Shine, Stephen Fitzgerald; Con: Shane Airey