The senior club heads out beyond city limits to a junior club, who have more than a point to prove in front of their own passionate supporters. The local boys, true to their word, put up a battle that has the visitors wondering if they'll play a supporting role in a glorious chapter of the junior club.
Its typ... Ohh, sorry I promised.... It's more of the same.
83 minutes had elapsed in Newcastlewest and Shannon led by 14-9. Despite the clock ticking beyond its allocated time, the home side were very much in with a chance to win this game. Just a few minutes earlier, they were camped on Shannon's line and it took all sorts of heroics from the defenders to keep their lead, which in fairness they had since the 21st minute.
Shannon managed to repeal the onslaught, take the ball, force their way down to the opposite end of the pitch, hold a few solid scrums , get a few phases ; events which culminated in Aaron Spring shooting through the weary defence and ease the fluttering hearts of their supporting contingent.
It would be great to say the result was never in doubt, but Newcastlewest made life very difficult for Shannon. With big scrum, that wasn't afraid to show their might, the home side closed down and prevented Shannon from getting any meaningful possession for lengthy periods. Nevertheless, when they look at their performance they'll note that they huffed and puffed a lot in the red zone, but couldn't break though a rock solid defence. Shannon won't really care how they won this game. The junior cup is a monkey on their backs that gets heavier the further from Coonagh they go, so yea we were happy today.
Three tries to none could tell the tale of game, but Shannon's try scoring chances didn't come thick and fast. Every inch was hard earned from the off. 21 minutes has elapsed before a score was registered , prior to that a few missed chances at goal from either side kept the deadlock .Killian O'Neill was credited with Shannon's opening try , and while the prop deserved the slaps on the back, so too did his grunting colleagues in the pack that paved the way for his 3 metre lunge.
After a slight delay for an injured Newcastlewest player, Ben Sargent added the conversion, but it was never a case off Shannon kicking on from there. It's no criticism of them though, more of a tip of the hat to Newcastlewest. The home boys tagged two penalties to the scoreboard before the break and the game was still up for the taking.
Had an early second half try opportunity, or indeed a missed penalty been taken, than perhaps, Shannon's second half journey may have been slightly easier, but again, they had to be on constant alert. A bout of Newcastlewest pressure was dealt with before Ben Sargent's fourth shot at goal, but the uprights got in the way in the 63rd minute. However, what is it we tell all the youngsters on the training pitch, "Chase every kick, you just never know". Connor Cunnane obviously paid attention, and he gathered the rebound and headed for the corner. Bodies, and plenty of them, clad in black made his little journey a tad difficult, but he sucked in enough defenders to allow a bit of space down the tram lines, 5 metres from the line. Brian Downey was on hand to take the swift pass and the prop skidded over like a flying winger. It was a fair reward for one of Shannon's most productive players. Sargent knocked over the very tough conversion and daylight began to appear between the sides.
Just like Irish sunshine though, it was a false dawn and Newcastlewest hit back again with a 70th minute penalty to ensure their interest in the final 10 minutes had potential rewards.
They tried and tried but will take little solace in their brave defeat as Shannon marched onto the next round thanks to their strong finish and Spring's late try.
Plenty to work on for Shannon, but plenty to be happy with. A win away from home in the junior cup is always worthy of a blast of The Isle. Good man Martin Power.
J.Bedford, S Arthurs,(P.Curtiss) C O'Neill, A Spring, C Cunnane, B Sargent, M Darcy, K O'Neill, A O'Brien, B Downey(G Birtchfield), F Broderick, K Hanley, C Cunnne, L Mullane, J Sheerin