Halvey likely to face Terenure
SHANNON, the defending champions who are now three-points clear at the top of the first division of the Insurance Corporation All-Ireland League, expect to have their international flanker Eddie Halvey fit for the match against Terenure College on Saturday at Thomond Park.
Halvey had to go off in the second half of the match against Blackrock College at Stradbrook on Saturday because of a dead leg. However, Shannon coach Niall O'Donovan was confident yesterday that Halvey will have recovered in time for the encounter against Terenure. Shannon will, field the same back line that played against Blackrock and the pack will be chosen from the eight that lined out against Blackrock with the addition of John Hayes and Kieran Maher.
Hayes was unavailable last week because of injury and Maher came on as a replacement for Halvey and yet again illustrated his value to the club by scoring a try. The appellation "super sub" certainly fits comfortably on Maher.
Terenure, who scored a record 63 points against Instonians, will be unchanged for this their first match against Shannon in the league.
Both the Lansdowne coach Paul Clinch and St Mary's College coach Ciaran Fitzgerald were fulsome in their praise for Shannon yesterday. "They are a very good side. But what really sets them apart from the rest has been there great ability to grind out the wins in the crucial matches. They have shown their ability to do that time after time and their record is excellent, you have to respect it. I cannot see them being stopped now from winning the league for the third time in a row. That will be an immense achievement," said Clinch.
Fitzgerald was not as yet prepared to concede the league, but said: "You have to give Shannon huge credit for what they have achieved. They have a great facility for winning when it really counts. They are first and foremost a very honest side. Every member of the team contributes all the time. You will never see a Shannon player hide," said Fitzgerald.
Garryowen, whose win over Lansdowne last Saturday effectively ended the Dublin club's hopes of taking the title, are likely to field an unchanged team for their visit to Ballymena on Saturday. Ballymena will have their captain Colin Wallace available. again for that match now that he has recovered from the injury that has kept him out of the game for a protracted period. But Wallace may have difficulty getting into the side after two excellent away wins against Lansdowne and Young Munster on successive weekends.
Young Munster will have their captain Declan Edwards available for their local derby against Old Crescent. Edwards, who has been out for six weeks, has recovered from injury and came on as a replacement against Ballymena last Saturday.
Blackrock College have Brian Carey back for the visit to Cork Constitution on Saturday. Carey missed the match against Shannon last week because of an knee injury.