Lansdowne prove too strong for Shannon
Lansdowne 48 Shannon 7:TWO TRIES in the opening eight minutes set Lansdowne up for a comprehensive Ulster League Division One A success over Shannon on the back pitch at the Aviva Stadium yesterday.
Lansdowne went on to score six tries in all, the bonus point success moving them to the top of the table. In complete contrast, Shannon are bottom after conceding 84 points in their opening two games.
So, already it looks as though the most successful team in the history of the competition are again going to struggle to avoid relegation. Lansdowne, quite clearly, have no such concerns.
Their coach Mike Ruddock has set a target of finishing in the top four after coming fifth last season. On the evidence of their first half performance yesterday, they are in with a definite chance.
They play a good brand of rugby with lots of pace out wide. They blew Shannon away in the first half, scoring four tries to get the bonus point and lead 32-7 at the interval.
Their Connacht contracted left wing Matt Healy was particularly impressive, going over for two tries. Flanker Charlie Butterworth and centre Sean Carey were the other try scorers.
Outhalf Craig Ronaldson landed three conversions and two penalties, while Shannon’s only response was a try from flanker John Shine, converted by Rob Guerin. To their credit, Shannon defended a lot better in the second half.
But they still conceded two more late tries through Lansdowne skipper Ross McCarron and substitute John Coleman. Ronaldson added two penalties to complete Shannon’s miserable afternoon.
Ruddock was understandably pleased with the success, given that Shannon had surprised Lansdowne to win the corresponding fixture last season. He said: “We came out with the intention of putting things right and played some good rugby in the first half. Maybe we took our foot off the gas a bit at half-time but credit to them for not dropping their heads. Overall though we’re very pleased to have won our opening two games.”
Shannon player/coach Stephen Keogh now believes that their next outing at home to Dolphin will be huge. “We’ve lost our first two games, shipping a lot of points, so we will have to regroup as a team and as a club.” he stressed.
“We’ve lost some players and have some, including myself, out injured, so it has been very difficult. We were a bit shellshocked in the first half today, but at least we defending well and showed a lot of heart after the interval.”
LANSDOWNE:R McCarron (capt); C Aherne, S Gahan, S Carey, M Healy; C Ronaldson, P O’Driscoll; J O’Connell, S Collins, D O’Reilly; W Earle, T Beirne; C Ross, C Butterworth, R Boucher. Replacements: T Sexton, R Liddington, M Feeley, M Walsh, J Coleman.
SHANNON:J Loxton; C O’Neill, R Mullane (capt), B Smith, M Leonard; R Guerin, M Darcy; G McNamara, J Cronin, K Griffin; J Sherin, F Walsh; J Murphy, S Shine, D Heffernan. Replacements: L O’Dea, A O’Brien, E McLoughlin, A Slivepcevic, M Culhane.
Referee: O Hodges.