Shannon win AIB League title

Shannon 25 Belfast Harlequins 20

Shannon 25 Belfast Harlequins 20

Shannon made it a clean sweep for table-topping sides in today's AIB League finals as they bagged their seventh Division One title – holding off a second half surge from Belfast Harlequins.

An 80th-minute converted try from 'Quins centre Greg Mitchell reduced the arrears at Lansdowne Road to five points but Shannon's wind-assisted first half performance, in which they scored all their 25 points, was good enough to secure back-to-back final victories.

Indeed it was the Mick Galwey-coached side's fourth senior trophy of the season - after a Munster bounty of the Senior League and Cup double and the Limerick Charity Cup.

Galwey's first league success as a coach looked well on course as Shannon went 13-0 up inside the first half-hour. Fly-half David Delaney kicked a brace of penalties on five and 29 minutes to sandwich Brian Tuohy's opening try.

Both sides lost a player on 13 minutes as both Shannon veteran Eddie Halvey – playing his final game – and 'Quins teenage prop John Andress were yellow carded for an altercation near the Ulster side's line.

Eight minutes later, Shannon winger Ian Dowling shifted through three tackles to set up field position on the right and when Eoin Cahill found Tuohy in space, the centre broke past Mitchell to score in the left corner.

Delaney converted, tagged on a penalty and watched with glee as flanker Colm McMahon crossed on 32 minutes after intercepting 'Quins scrum-half Andy Matchett's ruck feed.

Galwey's men had time for another before the break – at 18-0 in front – as hooker Nigel Conroy touched down from a close range Halvey offload.

Backed by a stiff breeze in the second half, Ian Humphreys kicked 'Quins' first points from a penalty two minutes in. Departing Ulster lock Matt Mustchin muscled over for his third try of the season six minutes later to stir hopes of a 'Quins revival.

Humphreys was wide with the conversion but following Shannon centre Cahill's 68th-minute sin-binning for preventing a quick release, the 'Quins fly-half jetted over for an unconverted try from a re-set scrum.

25-13 in front, Shannon looked secure until Mitchell burrowed over at the death. Humphreys converted this time, but the kick proved in vain.

Scorers: Harlequins: Tries: Matt Mustchin, Ian Humphreys, Greg Mitchell; Con: Humphreys; Pen: Humphreys

Shannon: Tries: Brian Tuohy, Colm McMahon, Nigel Conroy; Cons: David Delaney 2; Pens: Delaney 2

Shannon: D O’Donovan; I Dowling, B Tuohy, E Cahill, F McLoughlin; D Delaney, F McNamara; L Hogan, N Conroy, T Buckley, E Halvey, T Hayes (Capt), C McMahon, J O’Connor, S Keogh. Subs used: J Blaney for Conroy, F Roche for Hogan (both 63 mins), T Cregan for O’Donovan (64), A Thompson for Delaney, D Quinlan for O’Connor (both 79)

Harlequins: J Lowe; P McKenzie, G Mitchell, WP Strauss, S Wilson; I Humphreys, A Matchett; J Carey (Capt), N Hanna, J Andress, L McGowan, M Mustchin, S Lamb, D Dougherty, C McCarey.

Subs used: D Fitzpatrick for Lamb (16-23 mins), Rory Best for Hanna (47), Fitzpatrick for Andress (49), D Barbour for Lamb (63), A Gillespie for Dougherty (76)

Sin-bin: Eddie Halvey (Shannon), John Andress (Harlequins) (both 14 mins); Eoin Cahill (Shannon) (68)

HT: Harlequins 0 Shannon 25

Referee: Alan Lewis (Leinster)

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