While in the main there was no silverware handed out in our weekend successes, we did start off Saturday morning with the U/11's celebrating their success and setting a wonderful tone for others to follow
The morning began with a great U/11 display in the inaugural Garryowen tournament. Two teams under the black's and blue's banner took part. Four games for each side culminated in a shield semi final for each of our teams and the anticipation of an all Shannon final was fever pitch.
It was however, not to be but we did manage to get one of our sides into the final. The Blues were defeated by Richmond, but the Blacks put in a great effort to win their semi final over Thomond.
The final was a tense affair and Richmond were tough opposition, but one last supreme effort from our lads ensured that we could begin the weekend with Shannon team lifting silverware.
It was a great boost for everyone and news filtered through to the traveling senior team bus, which was taken as a great omen for the day ahead, and it certainly turned out that way.
Well done to all the U/11 players and their fantastic coaches. (click here for more pics from Dan Clancy)
We were in Cork with the seniors, but were glued to our Twitter feed where Gordon Britchfield was updating us on the progress of the U/19's who played Monivea in the AIL semi final.
We fretted a little, before the game, unknown qualities are always difficult to judge pre match and Monivea had sailed through their regional leagues, but as it turned out, we need not have worried too much.
Patches of Monivea pressure came sporadically between our three tries and a performance that saw Shannon/St Marys comfortably into the All Ireland Final
Even an early sin bin for us wasn't enough to stop the progress. That was preceded by a Shane Ryan try, and with a dominant scrum, a dominant lineout and a back line that was precise in their actions, the Galway side had little chance.
A 45-meter drive from the pack just before the break saw Tim Tobin add to the scoreline and with Conor Burns conversion; a 12-0 score line at the break was more than an adequate return.
More points came soon after the resumption when Conor Burns added a penalty and despite some line pressure from Monivea the Shannon/St Mary's try line remained untainted.
The insurance try came when again, the Parish lads were rewarded for set piece superiority and Devlin Price barged over to see his side clear with a 20-point lead and safe passage to an All Ireland final.
That Final takes place in Nass RFC next Saturday at 2pm against Malone.
Sunday saw a plethora of underage semi finals with the 19's open cup, 14's and 15's all in action.
Rosbrien was the venue for the U/14's and they were forced to negotiate a very tricky Old Crescent side. It was nip and tuck all the way and it took a penalty try in our favor to separate the sides. 12-7 was the final score ion this very keenly fought contest and a quick turnaround will see them play the Final on Wednesday evening.
Over in Dooradoyle the U/15's had to hold a resilient Garryowen side at bay for a long period of the second half after they had built a 15 nil lead. This game was a rematch of the leaguer final were the light blues lifted the silverware on that occasions, so motivation was no problem for our lads.
While it was a great team performance, we had one star player who scored a remarkable hat trick. Conor Fitzgerald crossed for three tries in the 20-14 victory where bodies were thrown about with abandonment for safety. James Brennan added another great try to endorse his tremendous contribution to the cause. Such was the desire to progress to the final; the Shannon boys were as committed as they were dogmatic.
Even when the light blues struck for two second have tries in lighting time, the lads dug deep into their resolve to halt any further breeches on the line. It was easier said than done though, but even with just a slender 1-point lead, the Shannon boys kept their nerve even in the face of obstinate attacks. The knife edge was polished and in use when the lads struck late in the game for a great try which then gave them a 6 point cushion, but such was the nature of the game, the result could not be taken for granted until the referee blew the full time whistle.
It was a stirring display and one which had us all proud on the sidelines, but all no shiny cup was presented in Dooradoyle , and they'll just have to do it all again in the final .
On wards to Annacotty where the U/19's took to the field for the second semi final in as many days. The Open cup allows clubs to play schools tied players, so it was practically a completely new team than the previous day, but the momentum was well and truly in our favor. Ul/Bohs were also well stacked with schools players and it made for a tight and tough game.
Jack Dineen was a powerhouse for us and crossed for a try in either half, which along with the successful kicks from Ben Cody gave us a great 17-10 win.
So we see our U/19 squad with a very busy schedule in the next few weeks. A north Munster cup semi final, an All Ireland final and an open cup final to play in a short period.
One hopes that the North Munster branch see sense and allow them to focus on the All Ireland final first and foremost and not fix any of these other games for this week .
We'll wait and see, but for this Monday morning our mood is high and we have so much more to look forward to.