Comeback kid: Munster and Garryowen star Ronan O’Mahony made his long awaited return from injury last weekend as his side suffered a home defeat to UCD in Dooradoyle
PROMOTED Shannon are the highest-placed Limerick side in Division 1A of the All-Ireland League ahead of this Saturday’s fifth series of regular season fixtures.
Fourth-placed Shannon, who picked up a losing bonus point in last weekend’s 22-17 defeat to Clontarf, host ninth-placed UCC on the back pitch at Thomond Park on Saturday, 2.30pm.
Also in Division 1A this Saturday, sixth-placed Young Munster will look to bounce back from their disappointing defeat at Dublin University, when hosting holders Lansdowne at Clifford Park.
Another Limerick side anxious to record a top flight win, Garryowen, travel to Temple Hill to face Cork Constitution.
In Division 2A, fifth-placed UL-Bohemian, fresh from their 33-7 bonus point thumping of Blackrock College at Stradbrook, travel to leaders Navan.
Also in 2A, Old Crescent, who suffered a narrow home defeat to Navan last time out, entertain Highfield at Rosbrien.
Meanwhile, in 2C, fourth-placed Bruff, host Seapoint at Kilballyowen Park, while Thomond, in eighth, travel to Ballina.
Shannon now sit six points off 1A leaders Clontarf. Head coach Tom Hayes said: “You go back 12 months ago and saw we will have picked up two wins in a row in Division 1A and with a couple of minutes to go be two points up against Clontarf, I think anyone would be fairly happy with that and I think we have come a long way.
“The boys are taking a bit more belief out of that. They are hurting now having lost a game from a leading position against Clontarf which is a good thing in some ways, I suppose.
“I hope we can move forward and try and make sure we learn how to dominate the big moments in games like that.”
Shannon had threatened to make it three wins on the bounce after leading Clontarf 17-15 with four minutes remaining, thanks to a Jake Flannery penalty.
However, a late Clontarf try from the flying Mick McGrath saw the Dubliners seal a hard-earned win.
Shannon, who trailed 9-15 at half-time, had four penalty goals from Flannery, who also added an opportunist try in the 46th minute.
Meanwhile, Young Munster led their game with Dublin University 9-3 in the opening half with three penalty goals from the boot of Clayton Stewart.
However, 17 unanswered points from the students saw them into a 17-9 interval lead.
Darragh O’Neill’s try had the Greenfields side within six points, 20-14, before the home side notched two more tries to lead 33-14.
A second O’Neill try and another one from Mark O’Mara brought Gearoid Prendergast’s side to within 11 points at full-time, 37-26.
Also in 1A, eighth-placed Garryowen trailed UCD 7-19 at half-time in Dooradoyle.
A lineout maul produced a try for Garryowen hooker Liam Cronin. His replacement Diarmuid Barron drove over in the second half and Liam Coombes also got on the scoresheet in the 31-19 loss.
Meanwhile, UL-Bohemian scored five tries against Blackrock at Stradbrook in their impressive 33-7 bonus point win in Division 2A. The Annacotty side scored five tries, with Adrian Enright grabbing a brace, while Harry Fleming, James Ryan and Darragh O’Grady also touched down.
Also in 2A, Old Crescent trailed Navan 12-17 at half-time after the Co Meath side built a significant 17-0 lead early on. Crescent’s had a penalty try and one from Nahuatl Dovalo. In the second half, Crescent added a third try from Brian Tuohy to draw level. However, a 65th minute penalty won the day for Navan, 17-20.
In Division 2C, early tries from Liam Treacy and Tom O'Dwyer helped fourth-placed Bruff build a 12-0 lead at home to Ballina.
Bruff led 12-8 at half-time and two more tries after the re-start helped secure a five-point haul with Jack O'Grady bagging the bonus point try in their 26-18 win.
Thomond, who lost 22-24, to Malahide, had a hat-trick of tries from their excellent out-half Evan Cusack, while Korey Browne also touched down as the Limerick side took two points from the game.