Shannon fail to raise a gallop

Young Munster 18 Shannon 0

The losers are now level on 26 points at the bottom of the table with UL/Bohemian, their fellow Limerick strugglers who kept alive their hopes of avoiding the drop with a 15-3 victory over St Mary’s College at Annacotty.

Shannon enjoy a substantial points score advantage over their Limerick rivals ahead of Saturday’s decisive fixtures which see Shannon entertain champions Lansdowne while Bohs travel to Cork Constitution. One of the two clubs will be automatically relegated, the other will go into a play-off with the runners-up in Division 1B, most likely UCD.

With so much to play for, Shannon had been expected to produce a hugely committed and determined performance against a Young Munster side that lost its previous six games and had little to play for. Instead, they hardly ever raised a gallop. Rob Guerin missed two glorious early penalty chances and after that they never looked like scoring. Darragh O’Neill went over for an early Munsters try converted by Shane O’Leary who added a couple of penalty goals before the interval. A Mark Doyle try shortly after the resumption ended whatever hopes Shannon entertained, to the dismay of coach James Hickey.

Hickey said: “Young Munster were massively motivated for a number of reasons, one being that it was Mike Prendergast’s last home game as coach. One early penalty narrowly missed, the other hit the post, proving this can be a game of inches. Had they gone over, we would have had momentum. We are still in control of our own destiny but we need to step up a lot on this performance.”

Prendergast, who heads to French Division One club Grenoble, masterminded a Young Munster victory after six successive losses since the beginning of February.

“We had a heart to heart beforehand because of a few hard weeks when we weren’t getting the rub of the green but I couldn’t ask for anything more in the area of work rate and intensity. I’ve been coach here for four years and a player for 15 and I couldn’t have got a better send-off .”

YOUNG MUNSTER: D O’Connor; C O’Hanlon, H McNulty, M Doyle, D O’Neill; S O’Leary, M Prendergast; A Cotter, G Slattery, H McGrath capt, S Duggan, T Goggin, M Rowley, D Ryan, N Melbourne.

Rolling replacements: D Montgomery, D Cantillon, E Mulcahy, L Russell, L Kuntz.

SHANNON: J Loxton; S McNamara, E Moloney, R Mullane, D O’Donovan; T Bennett capt, R Guerin; M Horan, D Casey, G McNamara, F Walsh, S McCarthy, E McLoughlin, L Mullane, J Shine.

Rolling replacements: J Cronin, M Corby, J Murphy, M Culhane, C Cunnane.

Referee: K Barry (IRFU).

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