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Youthful Shannon Lost Out To Clontarf

Youthful Shannon Lost Out To Clontarf

Shannon suffered their fourth straight defeat in the Ulster Bank League, going down to a clinical Clontarf outfit at Thomond Park on Saturday afternoon.

The Limerick side gave youth a fling, including Under-21 players Willie O'Connor and Shane McNamara as league debutants on either wing, but by half-time they were 22-0 behind.

Shannon made the brighter start but it was the visitors who scored the opening points. Hooker Jon Larbey made the initial break which led to flanker and captain Barry O'Mahony getting over.

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Shannon out-half Tadhg Bennett saw his penalty come back off the woodwork in the 18th minute, while Clontarf place-kicker Richie Lane was off target with a 50 metre penalty effort.

But when Shannon roamed offside in the 25th minute, Lane tapped over the penalty from in front of the posts to extend their lead.

Clontarf lock Ben Reilly was then yellow carded and while he was out of the action the Shannon pack gained the upper hand.

Yet, Stephen Keogh's men wasted a glorious try-scoring chance on the half hour. With nobody to beat, a pass went astray and that missed opportunity sucked some of the enthusiasm out of the hosts.

They paid a hefty price for not scoring on that occasion when 'Tarf grabbed their second try two minutes later. Shannon tried to chip out of defence but it backfired and the ball broke to winger Timmy McCoy who touched down.

To add to Shannon's misery, Lane's conversion went over off the crossbar to make it 15-0.

Shannon lost the Munster-capped Luke O'Dea to a shoulder injury and it took a great tackle by McNamara to deny Conor Keegan a try after he was set up by wily scrum half Sam Cronin.

In the final action of the half, Shannon lost their own lineout throw and O'Mahony was credited with the touchdown for their third try which Lane again converted.

By that stage, Clontarf must have fancied their chances of picking up a bonus point but it was Shannon who dominated the second period.

Richie Mullane got over the line but could not manage to ground the ball. However, four minutes from the end, the hosts were rewarded when prop Kevin Griffin barged his way over.

Shannon struck again in the final minute with experienced number 8 David Quinlan breaking through. Bennett converted both tries but it was too little, too late and Shannon were unfortunate to end the game with nothing to show for their efforts.

Referee: Dudley Phillips (IRFU)