TRADITIONAL club heavyweights Shannon and Garryowen go head-to-head in a crucial ODM Munster Senior Cup semi-final showdown at Thomond Park this Friday night (7.30pm)
Garryowen will be desperate to record a win over their arch rivals with the ‘light blues’ losing all five of their opening AIL Division 1A fixtures.
Shannon, operating from outside of the AIL’s top flight for the first time in their history, will be boosted by their precious 1B win over local rivals UL-Bohs at Coonagh on Saturday.
Garryowen remain rooted to the foot of the 1A table after suffering a bitterly disappointing one-point defeat to Young Munster at Dooradoyle in a game the ‘light blues’ could, and probably, should have won.
Garryowen forwards coach, Paul Neville said the Munster Senior Cup remained a key competition for the Dooradoyle club .
Neville said: “We are straight back into it. It is a different competition, a semi-final of the Munster Senior Cup. The Cup is always a huge competition for Garryowen. Hopefully it will have a good knock on effect and mentally get us right.”
“We had opportunities to win against Young Munster, but we didn’t put them away.
“I genuinely thought we did enough in the second half to win it. We held onto the ball enough.
“The effort is there. I can’t fault the lads for effort. It’s super. It will come and when it does, then hopefully there will be a snowball effect.
“But at the moment it is hard to get the initial win.
“We had a lot of bruised and tired bodies after the Munsters’ game.
“It is a hectic campaign at the moment. We are getting there, but we are still chasing that win.”
Shannon’s 13-9 win over UL-Bohs moved the Parish side up to sixth in the 1B table. Shannon reached Friday night’s Munster Senior Cup semi-final with an impressive quarter-final win over Dolphin.
Shannon’s Director of Rugby, Ian Sherwin said momentum was key for the young side.
“The Munster Senior Cup is a big thing for Shannon,” Sherwin said.
“The beauty of winning the quarter-final against Dolphin was that it gives us eight weeks on the bounce of competitive matches.
“It is a huge ask for the club, but we will find out an awful lot about the club during that time, about the new players we have.
“It is nice to have the Cup to keep us ticking over. Momentum is a key thing for Shannon and always was and the Cup is huge for Shannon.”
This season’s second ODM Munster Senior Cup semi-final will see UCC take on Cork Constitution at the Mardyke this Saturday at 2.30pm.