WATCH: Shannon number one at Christmas in Division 1B of Ulster Bank League

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent, at Thomond Park

Reporter:

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent, at Thomond Park

Email:

ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

WATCH: Shannon number one at Christmas in Division 1B of Ulster Bank League

Out-half Conor Fitzgerald scored two tries and landed seven conversions in their 49-19 thumping of Ballynahinch in Division 1B of the Ulster Bank League on Saturday

RESILIENT Shannon will be top of Division 1B of the Ulster Bank League at Christmas following their 49-19 demolition of nearest rivals Ballynahinch on the back pitch at Thomond Park on Saturday.

Shannon – who had lost 42-15 to the same opposition just seven days earlier in Ballymacarn Park – ran in seven tries in all to secure a precious bonus point from the top of the table clash.

In effect, Tom Hayes’ Shannon side, who had won each of their seven opening All-Ireland League fixtures this season, managed a 57-point turnaround in the space of a week against their Ulster opponents.

The Parish side had classy out-half Conor Fitzgerald and powerful number eight John Foley in their starting line-up. Both players had featured as second half replacements for Munster A in their British and Irish Cup defeat to Bedford Blues on Friday night at Musgrave Park.

To be fair, Ballynahinch were missing a couple of first team players who were involved with the Ulster A side in the B&I Cup this weekend.

Shannon led 21-7 at half-time, thanks to three converted tries, courtesy of a penalty try  on eight minutes as well as five-pointers from centre Patrick Ryan and hooker Ty Conor Chan.

Shannon secured the try bonus point three minutes after the red-start when out-half Fitzgerald’s inch perfect grubber kick in behind the ‘Hinch defence fell into the arms of the grateful Fionn McGibney who dotted down.

The successful conversion made it 28-7 and the Shannon faithful were breathing a little easier.

The home side put their visitors to the sword in the final half an hour with Fitzgerald bagging a brace of tries – both intercepts – while full-back McGibney also completed his brace late on.

Crucially, Shannon managed to prevent ‘Hinch from bagging a try bonus point as the visitors managed three tries of their own.