THERE was some local surprise that UL Bohemian came away from Coonagh last Saturday with a deserved 40-9 victory in this Limerick Charity Cup semi-final, but it was the margin of that success that was the main talking point. The red robins will now go into the final against Young Munster full of confidence.
There is a nice balance about this Bohs side. The pack is very mobile with latest signing from Richmond, prop Alex Simpson, making an impressive step up to senior ranks; Ben Martin and Cathal Sheridan very solid at half-back and hooker Sean Henry, second-row Ed Kelly and number eight Sean Rennisson prominent throughout. Martin certainly won the ‘battle of the Bens,’ his opposite number Ben Sergeant restricted through a lack of decent possession and poor protection.
On this showing, Bohs will fit comfortably into AIL’s premier division and should set their sights on a top four finishing place. Shannon showed their traditional grit and pride in the jersey but they struggled in too many areas of play, mostly in the second period, to create decent try chances. They failed to score in the second period, shunning a close-in penalty chance on 58 minutes when they trailed 9-19, and that was to be as close as they got to adding to Ben Sergeant’s three first half penalties on 17, 23 and 30 minutes.
Quick recycling of the ball, sharp and purposeful ball carrying through the middle and pace on the flanks caused Shannon problems from the start and tries by Keith McManus’ and left wing Rory Whyte with Ben Martin adding a penalty, left Bohs leading 9-13 at the break.
The flood gates opened in the second half with Shannon suffering a succession of injuries. Martin increased the lead to 9-19 and with the home side tiring, tries followed from the impressive Martin McPhail, Ed Kelly and Finbarr Ahern, the rest of the points coming from the boot of Ben Martin.
Munster squad player JJ Hanrahan was available to UL Bohemian for the game but had to cry off because of a bout of ‘flu.
Scorers, Shannon, Ben Sergeant 3 pens. UL Bohs, tries Rory Whyte, Keith McManus, Martin McPhail, Ed Kelly, Finbarr Aherne; drop goal, 3 cons., 2 pens. Ben Martin.
Shannon: Richie Mullane; Michael D’Arcy, Eric Moloney, Brian Smith, Alan Bennie; Ben Sergeant, Rob Guerin; Kevin Griffin, Duncan Casey, Aaron O’Brien; John Sheerin, Ken Hanley; Brian Downey, John Shine, Dan Heffernan. Replacements, Darragh Fitzgerald, Jason Cronin, Francis Broderick, Michael Culhane, Leonard Mullane, Willie O’Connor, Mal Corbett.
UL Bohemian: Alan Rossiter; Finbarr Aherne, Martin McPhail, Niall Kennelly, Rory Whyte; Ben Martin, Cathal Sheridan; Darragh Lenihan, Sean Henry, Alex Simpson; Ed Kelly, Conor Kindergan; Eddie Rossiter, Keith McManus, Sean Rennison. Replacements, Tom Burke, Fergal Lawlor, Niall O’Brien, Brian Walsh, Ian Condell, Derrick Farrell, Darren Moroney.