SHANNON will host arch rivals Garryowen in a semi-final of this season’s ODM Munster Senior Cup next month after both sides came through their quarter-final ties in contrasting fortunes.
A last gasp penalty goal from captain Tadhg Bennett with the final kick of the game saw Shannon stun Dolphin 31-29 in their entertaining last eight clash at Coonagh on Saturday.
Out-half Bennett, who had been hugely influential all through, kept his composure superbly to land the match-winning kick from 30 metres out in the third minute of stoppage time. Shannon would have been distraught to have lost a Cup tie the home side had led 22-6 at half-time.
Meanwhile, Garryowen outscored Cashel three tries to one to record a 20-5 win over the Tipperary side. James McInerney, Harry McNulty and Alex Wotton scored tries for the ‘light blues’, while Jamie Gavin kicked a conversion and a penalty.
There was disappointment for Old Crescent on Friday night as they bowed out at the hands of UCC on a 27-20 scoreline. Crescent trailed 3-13 at half-time, but tries from Shane Mullally, Donal Murphy and Gareth Quinn-McDonogh after the restart kept the home side in the game right until the final whistle.
Shannon will desperately hope the win can kick-start their AIL 1B campaign as the Parish side have suffered defeat in their opening two fixtures as they settle in to life outside of the League’s top flight for the first time in their history.
Shannon played some excellent rugby in the first half, winning the collision area and dominating the breakdown. Crucially the home side managed to convert their possession into points, scoring three fine tries from full-back David O’Donovan, number eight Cronan Gleeson and lock Keith White.
The game also saw Munster star Luke O’Dea return from injury as a second half replacement.
While Shannon lost their grip on the second half when AIL 1A high-flyers Dolphin struck for two tries from flanker Miah Cronin and some excellent goal-kicking from Barry Keeshan, the home side didn’t panic and when their chance came in stoppage time, Bennett duly came up with the goods.
Shannon’s Director of Rugby, Ian Sherwin said: “I am absolutely delighted. We started really well which is what we needed to do.
“The lead changed hands four times in the last six minutes, so credit to our lads for pulling through.
We have a very young side and it is important to have a couple of very experienced guys, including the likes of Tadhg Bennett.”
ODM Munster Senior Cup Results
Cashel 5, Garryowen 20; Old Crescent 20, UCC 27; Shannon 31, Dolphin 29;
ODM Cyril Fitzgerald Plate Results
Bruff 17, Nenagh Ormond 20; Highfield 16, Thomond 9; Sunday’s Well 14, Richmond 10; UL-Bohemian 17, Young Munster 34;
ODM Munster Senior Cup Semi Finals (Both November 16)
Shannon v Garryowen; UCC v Cork Constitution.
ODM Cyril Fitzgerald Plate Semi Finals (Both November 16)
Sunday’s Well v Nenagh Ormond; Highfield v Young Munster.