Saturday 19 August 2017

Keogh joy as Shannon end dismal run

SHANNON took an important step in their bid to move clear of the relegation zone in Division 1A with a hard-fought victory over Lansdowne on Saturday.

The win ended a disastrous run which had seen Shannon manage just one draw in their seven previous outings. While they remain third from bottom, only two points ahead of Blackrock College, the victory should do much to restore their confidence.

"Hopefully, that will be the case," said player-coach Stephen Keogh. "We've been working really hard without getting the reward, so we badly needed something to go our way.

"That was a really good away win, but, at the same time, it's only one game. I suspect we'll know more when we take on Young Munster on Friday."

No doubt they will but, for the moment, Shannon have to be pleased to have gained a long overdue victory against a badly-hit Lansdowne outfit. Already unable to call on several key players, they lost their out-half Craig Ronaldson with a knee injury in the opening quarter.

In his absence, the Leinster scrum-half John Cooney came off the bench to feature at No 10. Cooney, a very talented footballer, did well in the circumstances but Lansdowne missed Ronaldson's goalkicking ability.

Lansdowne also lost two props in the opening quarter, meaning the game continued with uncontested scrums. Even so, it turned out to be an entertaining match, despite poor conditions.

Shannon made all the running during the first half, and led 13-0 thanks to a Stephen Keogh try, converted by Tadgh Bennett, who added two penalties.

Lansdowne then got going, their exciting back division scoring tries through Cooney and Mark Roche. Roche landed one of the conversions, while Bennett kicked a penalty for Shannon, who led 16-12 at the interval.

Dominating

Skipper Ross McCarron scored the try of the match after the break to put the hosts ahead, but Shannon responded by dominating possession and territory.

Their good work allowed Bennett to land two more penalties to put Shannon back in front 22-17, and they then withstood some late pressure to make certain of victory.

Lansdowne coach Mike Ruddock admitted to being frustrated, stating: "I don't want to take anything away from Shannon -- it was a really good victory for them -- but it's always frustrating when you outscore your rivals by three tries to one and lose."

Lansdowne -- R McCarron (capt); C Aherne, S Carey, M Roche, M Healy; C Ronaldson, P O'Driscoll; J O'Connell, S Collins, D O'Reilly, M Feeley, W Earl, A Matthews, J Kelly, R Boucher. Subs used: J Cooney, T Sexton, M Moore, C O'Donnell, C Butterworth.

Shannon -- L O'Dea; W O'Connor, R Mullane, M Lawler, S McNamara; T Bennett, R Guerin; L Hogan, J Deegan, K Griffin, D Heffernan, F Walsh, S Keogh, J Murphy, D Quinlan. Subs used: A O'Brien, J Sheerin, A Spring.

Ref -- B O'Connell.

Irish Independent

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