Shannon v Dolphin
First league win!!
On a deceptively cold day in Thomond Park, Shannon took to the pitch with another changed team from the week before. We had some lads back from injury and others forced to sit out due injury – it’s been a common problem for us this season but the show must go on! We kicked off the first half with our backs to the sun and the wind with us.
We were awarded a penalty in the first minute after Dolphin came off their feet at the breakdown and Conor Fitzgerald wasted no time in kicking us to the Dolphin 22. We set up a maul and Jack Stafford took control, pushing it on. We made our way slowly towards the Dolphin line and spread the ball out attacking wide. Dolphin were awarded a penalty for hands in the ruck kicked out of pressure to their 10meter. They took the ball from the top of the line out and used their centres to attack up the middle of the pitch. Our defence held tough, and we kept them in their own half waiting for the knock on that came moments later. We were in possession of the first scrum just inside their half, in the centre of the pitch. John Foley picked off the back and took the ball up making good ground. The ball made its way on a few more phases before Dolphin turned over but knocked on. We took a scrum on our 10 and gained a penalty here; Conor Fitzgerald kicked us to their 10.
We took a lineout and got the ball out to the backs who got it out through the hands. We were unlucky to pass the ball forward and Dolphin took the scrum. This was reset and after a second collapse; it was Dolphins turn for a penalty. They kicked to our 10. The scrum half quickly shipped the ball out to the backs and they made a break down the wing. Jack Stafford was on the ball and put in a fantastic cover tackle with the help of Ronan McKenna, forcing the Dolphin attacker into touch. We kicked to touch off the back of the line out. Dolphin took the next lineout and after some forward crashes; let the ball out to the backs who brought the ball up towards the Shannon line. They gave away a penalty for crossing and Conor Fitzgerald kicked us to our 10 for a line out. We set up a solid maul and made great ground with Jack Stafford peeling off the back and our forwards going with him in support. The ball was shipped out along the hands and was dropped back with Conor Fitzgerald recovering and taking it up again. We held onto the ball, attacking the space at pace and were awarded a penalty for Dolphin not rolling away from the tackle. After a quick chat with his linesman the ref allowed the penalty stand and we kicked to their 10 and again utilised our maul. The ball was lost in contact off the back of the maul and Dolphin were quick off the mark to take off on a gallop towards our 22. Shane Mullally backtracked and put in a great hit but was found to be offside.
Dolphin stepped up and put the ball between the posts taking the lead, 3-0 after 20 minutes. We gave away another penalty minutes later for not rolling away in the ruck and Dolphin kicked to our ten. They knocked on in the lineout and we took possession of the following scrum. A well-timed strike from the Dolphin hooker saw them steal the scrum and launch an attack. The Shannon pack were quick to break and Ty Chan put in two consecutive hits, halting the attack. They chipped through our line and Ronan McKenna gathered and put the ball into touch. Dolphin retained possession from the lineout and attacked out wide again. Despite solid hits going in from Shannon; a Dolphin player broke the line and Robbie Deegan put in a crunching tackle, saving a try but unfortunately forcing his retirement from the game. Dolphin took the scrum in front of our posts on the 5 as they were the team going forward, their number 8 picked and went off the back. Niall Mulcahy did fantastically to break and put the number 8 back forcing a knock on and gifting us a scrum at 30minutes.
We were awarded a penalty at the scrum and Conor Fitzgerald kicked us to our ten where we were unfortunate to have the ball stolen in the lineout. Dolphin kept the attack tight and were awarded penalty at the breakdown. They went for the posts at the 33-minute mark but missed leaving the score 3-0. Dolphin were in possession from the kick off and attacked down the middle of the pitch, where we gained a penalty for hand in the ruck. We kicked to half way and secured the ball in the lineout getting the ball to our backs. Conor Glynn got a hand on the ball and made a fantastic break only halted at the Dolphin 22. Our forwards were on hand to cover and we got the ball wide, Dolphin then turned this over. A drop goal attempt and a penalty against Shannon saw the first half end with the score remaining 3-0.
Dolphin kicked off the second half and we recovered. We kept the ball tight and worked our way down the pitch, Conor Fitz kicked a fantastic ball to the Dolphin 22. They took the lineout and kicked long range from the back. We gathered and attacked, kicking to touch on our 22. Dolphin took the lineout and we gained a penalty in the breakdown. We missed this and the score remained 3-0 after 5 minutes. One minute later we were awarded another penalty just inside out own half, this was missed again. Dolphin put up a 22 drop out and turned the ball over from Shannon in the following ruck. Conor Glynn then received a yellow card at 49 mins - Dolphin kicked to our 5.
Two minutes later and two penalties in a row for saw another wide miss for Shannon. Dolphin recovered from their own kick off and attacked from within their own half giving us a penalty for hands in the ruck. Conor kicked us to the Dolphin 22 but we put a crooked ball into the lineout and Dolphin took a scrum. The ref awarded a penalty against Shannon in the scrum allowing Dolphin kick to half way. We gained possession of the ball and kicked to the Dolphin line. Dolphin touched down and took the drop out, recovering the ball in the air. They brought the attack inside out half but gave away a penalty for hands in the ruck. Conor kicked us straight to the Dolphin 5 but didn’t get touch. Dolphin called a mark here and the ref allowed Dolphin tip and go. Shannon chased this quickly, closing down space and Richard Mullane forced the knock on in contact. We scrummed down on their 5.
The next passage of play showed some ferocious attacking from Shannon. They each took on the ball and there was plenty of support on hand to drive the ball onwards. The Dolphin out half saw a card here for a stamp in the ruck. Shannon kept the heads here and worked the ball across the pitch to send Richard Mullane over in the corner. Ronan McKenna converted to leave the score 7-3 at 66 minutes. Dolphin kicked off and Will Leonard recovered, making a great break through the Dolphin defence. Conor Glynn was in quick pursuit and took the offload unfortunately losing the ball forward. Dolphin took the scrum on half way and dropped the ball back. Their scrum half recovered and launched a box kick recovered by Ronan McKenna who kicked to the Dolphin corner.
Dolphin took a quick one and kicked away possession, we recovered and gained a penalty for hands in the ruck but missed the penalty. Again, we recovered the kick off and launched an organised attack applying pressure to the Dolphin line. Dolphin turned over the ball and gained a penalty for Shannon hands in the ruck. Dolphin kicked to their own 22 alleviating pressure. John Andress stole the lineout and we were back on attack on their 22. Ronan McKenna got a hand on the ball and broke the tackle, flying through the Dolphin defence and finding Conor Glynn on his shoulder in support. Conor wasn’t going to be stopped from that distance and barrelled over the line for a try converted by Ronan McKeanna leaving the score 14-3 at 76 minutes. Dolphin kicked off and Shannon returned, Richard Mullane followed up with a tackle and we got a penalty for Dolphin coming off their feet. Ronan McKenna put this between the posts leaving the score 17-3.
Dolphin were on the attack form the kick off and worked their way to the Shannon line where after two minutes of attack they crossed over the line for a converted try leaving the final score 17-10.
The match produced a much-needed win for Shannon and it was a great display for all in attendance. There were moments of brilliance throughout the match and if we can capitalise on this and keep up the positivity we will turn things around. This weekend sees the lads take on UL Bohs in our first local derby on the 4g pitch in UL. Please come along and show the lads your support, it is a crucial match and we know the win is achievable!!