WATCH: Garryowen thump arch rivals Shannon to boost AIL play-off hopes

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent, at Thomond Park

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Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent, at Thomond Park

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ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

Garryowen thump arch rivals Shannon to boost AIL play-off hopes

Action from Garryowen's All-Ireland League Division 1A win over Shannon at Thomond Park on Friday night

GARRYOWEN boosted their top four play-off hopes in Division 1A of the All-Ireland League after scoring an impressive 28-7 derby victory over arch rivals Shannon at Thomond Park on Friday night.

Three first half tries helped propel a clinical Garryowen side to a crucial success, the ‘Light Blues’ fifth in their last six Division 1A fixtures.

Free-scoring Garryowen added two more tries after the restart to close out a convincing success and finish off a hectic part of the season for the Dooradoyle side on a winning note.

This was a disappointing defeat for Shannon who sat within a single point of Garryown prior to kick-off in the wake of back-to-back league wins over UCD.

The home side will be disappointed not to have given a better account of themselves in one of their marquee home league fixtures of the season.

While Garryowen had left it late to secure a nail-biting 30-29 victory over Shannon in a thrilling AIL fixture in Dooradoyle last month, the ‘Light Blues’ win was far more clear-cut this time.

The Light Blues bossed the collision and breakdown areas, their set-piece provided a reliable source of good quality possession all night and they played in the right areas of the pitch in the wet and greasy conditions.

Those three first half tries helped Conan Doyle’s side build a commanding 18-0 half-time lead and the visitors had secured the try bonus point within 10 minutes of the restart when winger Liam Coombes bagged his second try of the night.

There was simply no way back for Tom Hayes’ Shannon side from there.

Both sides were minus a number of All-Ireland League ‘regulars’ as a result of Munster’s Guinness PRO14 clash against the Dragons in Wales on Saturday as well as having players selected for the Ireland U20 squad who begin their 6 Nations campaign next Friday night against England in Cork,

A clinical Garryowen side, converted their dominance of territory and possession, by crossing the whitewash three times in the opening 40 minutes in the persistent drizzle of rain which made for a greasy ball and playing surface.

The first arrived on nine minutes from winger Liam Coombes, while prolific try-scoring hooker Liam Cronin dotted down, followed a well-executed maul on the half hour mark, with Kevin Seymour adding a third try for the visitors just before the interval.

Centre Peader Collins added a 20th minute penalty goal for the Dooradoyle side, who lost Munster winger Alex Wootton to an unfortunate injury at the start of the second quarter. 

Garryowen, who introduced Munster hooker Mike Sherry as a 49th minute replacement, added the bonus point try a minute later when, after stretching Shannon’s defence to breaking point, moving the ball with precision from left and right initially, they switched the play back the other way, with winger Coombes crossing for his second five-pointer of the evening in the left corner. 

The visitors added their fifth try of the game in the 65th minute with the rain growing heavier as  centre Peader Collins dotted down.

Shannon did manage a consolation score late on when after some excellent play from Robbie Deegan, replacement Ronan Coffey dotted down.

Ben Daly’s conversion made it 28-7 to the visitors at full-time.

SCORERS: Shannon: Ronan Coffey try, Ben Daly con. Garryowen: Liam Coombes two tries, Peader Collins try, pen, Diarmaid Barron, Kevin Seymour try each.

SHANNON: Jamie McGarry; Ikem Ugwueru, Patrick Ryan, Ger Finucane, Eathon Moloney; Ben Daly, Jack Stafford, Conor Glynn, Ty Chan, Tony Cusack; Sean Walsh, Jade Kriel; Kelvin Brown, Charlie Carmody, Luke Clohessy. Replacements: Jordan Prenderville, Samuel Karlsen, Ronan Coffey, Aran Hehir, Robert Deegan.

GARRYOWEN: Jamie Heuston; Alex Wootton, Peader Collins, David McCarthy, Liam Coombes; Jamie Gavin, Rob Guerin; Niall Horan, Liam Cronin, Andrew Keating; Kevin Seymour, Dean Moore; Diarmuid Barron, Jack Daly, Timothy Ferguson. Replacements: Mike Sherry, Michael O'Donnell, Sean Rennison, Evan Maher, Cian O'Shea.

REFEREE: George Clancy (IRFU)