Shannon v UCC
Photo from Dermot Lynch
With the torrential amounts of rain that fell all week long, it wasn’t looking great for rugby this weekend! Many clubs around the country fell victim to the wet conditions but we prevailed and lined out on the back pitch in Thomond Park as usual, thanks to the efforts of our fantastic club members who were on hand to do their best to make the pitch playable. We lined out with a strong team and were happy to welcome back both Adam Moloney and Conor Fitzgerald to the fold as they were in a down weekend from the Irish u20s.
After a minute’s silence for recently deceased player and member Eric McNamara and Padhraic Moran, Conor Fitzgerald got us underway with a Shannon kick off. UCC recovered and knocked on the ball which had us in possession of the first scrum just inside the UCC half. We gave away a penalty and UCC opted to tip and go. They kicked ahead but the ball went dead with Shannon taking the resulting 22 drop out. Greg O’Shea was in hot pursuit putting UCC under pressure as they returned the kick with Conor Fitzgerald calling the mark as he received, he then kicked us to our 10 for a UCC lineout. They crashed the ball on from the back of the lineout and we were quick in reacting to force the turnover. The ball made its way to Luke O’Dea who kicked us ahead, and UCC gathered and returned. Both sets of backs traded kicks culminating in a Shannon knock on. UCC took the scrum on our 22 line but we did well to steal the ball and ship it to Conor Fitz who was waiting to kick us deep. UCC recovered and attacked through their number 8. Jack Stafford was on hand to put in a solid tackle and halt the attack.
UCC retained possession however and their 10 was on the ball when he spotted a gap and made a good break. We covered well and Jack O’Donnell was quick off the mark when he spotted the chance and turned the ball over allowing us to kick. UCC were under the high ball and took it back into contact, gifting us a penalty when they joined the ruck from the side. The ball went dead from the kick and UCC were awarded a 22 drop out. We recovered and attacked back over our 22 with the backs carrying well. Duncan Casey was next to get a hand to the ball and was powerful in his carry taking us into the UCC half where we gained a penalty for UCC not releasing in the tackle. Conor Fitzgerald kicked us to the UCC 22 and Riley Winter secured the ball setting up a maul when he reached the ground. The maul moved along and made good ground towards their 5 but we passed the ball forward after peeling from the back.
The scrum in which UCC were in possession, was reset once and then steadied. Their number 8 picked and went, passing the ball to their out half as he was tackled. UCC kicked to Stephen Fitzgerald and we returned the kick but it went out on the full and UCC took a lineout on the half way line. Tom Hayes was accurate in his poach and we stole the lineout getting the ball to Duncan as he covered across. The ball was spread wide and Conor Fitzgerald took it on as he broke a tackle and found Conor Glynn in support who brought us on again with a great carry. We kept up the intensity in attack and were unlucky when UCC turned over the ball, they were tackled into touch and we were back in possession in the lineout. This time it was UCCs turn to steal the ball and we were peanlised for not rolling away in the next tackle allowing UCC to kick for touch. They kicked to inside our22. We knocked on the ball in the lineout and after a further scrum collapse the ref pulled in both front rows for a chat.
We gained a penalty after the scrum collapsed again and as the heavens opened for a torrential shower, Conor Fitzgerald kicked us to their 22 and we got a solid lineout with the ball making its way out to the backs. As we worked the ball back in, our forwards set up a maul and we made fantastic ground towards the UCC 5. We kept the maul steady and our patience was rewarded when Niall Mulcay went in for a try from the back, with a UCC man getting a yellow card in the process. Conor Fitzgerald landed the conversion leaving the score 7-0 to Shannon after 23 minutes.
UCC kicked off and Greg O’Shea was underneath waiting to catch, he made a great break and ran us to the UCC 22. He got the pass away and we kept up a face paced attack, kicking ahead but the ball went dead. UCC dropped out and the ball went out on the full allowing Shannon come back to the UCC 22 for a scrum. UCC were awarded a penalty in this scrum and they kicked to our 10 for a lineout. They got secure ball in the lineout and chipped ahead when it was passed out wide; they retained possession here and then gained a penalty for Shannon coming in from the side of the ruck. The UCC kicker opted for the posts which he slot over leaving the score 7-3 at 29 minutes.
We kicked off and after a UCC knock on saw us scrum down again, we gained a penalty allowing Conor Fitzgerald a shot at goal and he succeeded with ease. It was 10-3 to Shannon at 31 minutes. UCC kicked off and managed to hold possession until we forced the turnover. Greg O’Shea kicked us ahead and followed up with a great tackle but UCC got the ball away and kicked deep into our half where we dropped the ball forward. Shannon stole the ball in the scrum and we kicked the ball back, UCC kicked and we returned only for UCC to kick back to touch on the half way. UCC took the lineout and retained possession as they crashed the ball into our half. They kicked to our 22 for a Shannon lineout. Riley Winter made sure of the ball in the air and we spread it wide losing it forward as the wind played havoc. UCC snapped up the spilled ball and attacked with gusto. They were moving further into our 22 when we turned over and Jack Stafford got a good kick away.
We were penalised here for not rolling away from the tackle and as the wind died down UCC opted for the posts. It was a solid kick and it went all the way bringing the score to Shannon 10 and UCC 6 at 40 minutes. We kicked off and UCC returned, managing to recover possession and spread it wide but dropping it into touch as they went. We took a lineout just inside the UCC half and retained possession. Jack Stafford and Tom Hayes both looked dangerous in attack and we kept the ball tight. Again, we were unfortunate to knock the ball on and UCC recovered, kicking ahead. As usual, Greg was sure under the ball and took us back up where UCC turned over but dropped the ball into touch signalling the end of the half with Shannon up 10-6.
UCC kicked off the second half and we returned with the ball going to touch on our ten for a UCC lineout. They mauled and we gave away a penalty for coming in the side allowing them to kick to our 22 for a lineout in which they got the ball off the top and out wide. They attacked sideline to sideline but didn't gain much ground and it wasn't long before we gained a penalty for UCC crossing. Conor was accurate in his attempts when he drove the ball to the halfway line. Duncan hit Lee Nicholas in the lineout and we got the ball to the backs who put up a Garryowen. Riley Winter chased and recovered and again we were back in attack. UCC took their chances well and turned over the ball after which, we gave away a penalty for batting the ball from the scrum halfs hands. UCC kicked to half way.
They made a break from the lineout and ran into our 22 where they spread it wide to the backs who were running on at pace. Will Leonard did fantastically to put in a cover tackle, forcing UCC to knock on on our line. After another reset scrum, we were awarded a penalty and Conor kicked deep. The ball was carried by the wind and UCC managed to get a hand to it, taking advantage of Shannon being caught off guard. We missed tackles as UCC crossed into our 22. Their attack was relentless and it looked like they were on for a try when suddenly Greg O'Shea intercepted and secured the ball back for Shannon. Conor lined up and found touch on the UCC 10. Great timing from the forwards saw John Foley go up in the lineout and pull off a great steal after which we gained a penalty for UCC putting in a late hit. Conor Fitzgerald felt confident and rightly so as he slotted over the penalty in a swirling wind, bringing our lead to 13-6 at 51 minutes.
UCC kicked back to us and Conor recovered kicking us to our 10. They threw to two in the lineout and attacked up the middle of the pitch, knocking the ball on in the process. We scrummed down in possession on the half way. We gained another penalty in the scrum and the wind made a nuisance of itself again as our kick missed touch. UCC kicked back and Stephen Fitzgerald recovered, taking us back up. We knocked on in the next phase and UCC recovered opting to kick ahead. We covered back and gained possession, kicking to touch on our 10 for a UCC lineout. They got quick ball from the top out to the backs and Riley Winter again did well in defence, however their attack continued as they entered our 22. UCC had a penalty coming as they kept up the attack and after they broke the gain like advantage was over. They continued to pick and go and edged closer to our line. A nice move from the backs saw UCC create space and send their fullback over the line for an unconverted try leaving the score 13-11 to Shannon at 61 minutes.
We kicked off and UCC recovered, kicking to touch for a Shannon lineout on our 22. We went for the maul and spread the ball wide off the back. Lee Nicholas made a strong carry and made good ground linking back up with Conor Fitz who chipped through. UCC anticipated and gathered before box kicking to their 22. Conor recovered and chipped through again but once more UCC get a hand to it. They launched an attack from their line and Shannon applied fantastic pressure. They kicked to alleviate pressure and Luke O'Dea recovered, bringing us back over their 22. The ball didn't go to hand and ended up in touch with UCC having a lineout on their 22.
The UCC scrum half lined up a kick from the lineout and Duncan Casey and Tony Cusack managed to block it down. They recovered the ball back and kicked deep with Conor Fitz catching and kicking us back to the UCC 10. UCC spread the ball from the lineout and Luke Moylan managed to get a boot to a loose ball but was pulled back as he tried to give chase. It was a second yellow for UCC at 67 minutes and we kicked to their 5. We mauled from the lineout and gained good ground as it trundled on towards the line. Quick thinking from Keith Kavanagh saw him rip the ball and go blind as he linked up with Greg O'Shea to send him over the line. Conor converted and we pushed out our lead to 20-11 at 69 minutes.
We retained possession from the kick off and box kicked from our 22 getting touch on our 10. We took the lineout well but were penalised in the next ruck for not releasing. They opted to kick the penalty and were successful leaving the score 24-14 after 73 minutes. We kicked off and UCC returned putting the ball into touch on half way. We mauled from the lineout and held onto possession until we gave a penalty away for holding the ball. At this stage we stopped for an injury to Adam Moloney. Play resumed and we came back to the mark for the UCC penalty. They missed touch from this and we recovered, kicking back. UCC then brought the ball back up in return. We chipped the ball out and UCC took a lineout on our 10. They held onto possession and attacked out of their half. As the time ticked on UCC retained possession and launched a fierce attack at Shannon. Our defence was awesome as the lads held their line and man marked as they needed to. As we entered the 90th minute UCC crossed over our ten and we're looking dangerous until Will Leonard sniped in and grabbed a turnover seeing UCC penalised for holding the ball in. Conor Fitz made no mistake of kicking the ball out ending an exhausting encounter in which we emerged victorious with a score line of 20-14.