ALL-IRELAND League Division 2C side Old Crescent shocked Division 1B rivals Shannon 18-13 in their Limerick Charity Cup quarter-final clash at Coonagh on Tuesday night.
A 75th minute try from influential number eight Brendan Guilfoyle, who returned to Old Crescent from Thomond during the summer, and a successful conversion from out-half Shane O’Brien sealed a deserved victory for the visitors.
This was a frustrating way for Marcus Horan’s reign as Shannon head coach to begin, especially after the Parish side had fought back from an eight point half-time deficit to lead 13-11 inside the final five minutes of a competitive contest.
Shannon full-back Ronan McKenna and Crescent out-half O’Brien traded penalty goals to see the sides level, 3-3, at the end of the first quarter.
As one would expect with the season in its infancy, both sides were guilty of handling errors in that opening period. Both clubs fielded line-ups which included a mix of both youth and experience.
The crucial score of the half arrived after 26 minutes when Old Crescent hooker Cathal O’Reilly barged over the tryline from close range. While O’Brien missed the conversion, he did add a subsequent penalty goal to push wind-assisted Crescent into a useful 11-3 half-time lead.
Shannon hit back in the 55th minute with a well-executed try from full-back Ronan McKenna who fended off several Crescent tacklers to score in the left corner.
Then, with just over 10 minutes remaining, centre Shane Mullally also touched down in the left corner to help the Parish side take a two point lead, 13-11.
However, resilient Old Crescent were not done yet and while scrum-half Gareth Quinn-McDonogh was stopped short of the try-line following a five-metre scrum, number eight Guilfoyle barged over for the decisive try.
Shannon did have a chance to snatch victory late on, but the gritty Crescent pack managed to force a crucial turnover as the home side tried to maul their way over from inside the ‘22.
SCORERS: Shannon: Ronan McKenna try, pen, Shane Mullally try. Old Crescent: Cathal O’Reilly, Brendan Guilfoyle try each, Shane O’Brien two pens con.
SHANNON: Ronan McKenna; Richard Mullane, Shane Mullally, Tadhg Bennett, Ronan Hunt; Shane Airey, David O’Donovan (Capt); Tony Cusack, Jason Cronin, Niall Horan; Aaron Broderick, Eoin McCabe; James Vaughan, Andy Coffey, Brian Downey. Replacements: Eoin Scully, Jack O’Halloran, Jamie Moore, William Leonard, Robert Price.
OLD CRESCENT: Marty Ryan; David Egan, Brian Touhy, Larry Hanly, Paul McNamara; Shane O’Brien, Garreth Quinn-McDonogh; Alex Simpson, Cathal O’Reilly (Capt), Shane O’Conell; Karl Hanley, Padraig Monaghan; Tevita Tali’Toia, Sean Monaghan, Brendan Guilfoyle. Replacements: Seaghan Gleeson, Mark Patrick Rickard, Cian Reale, Sean Hogan, Nigel Kerr.