Dolphin are set to compete in their first Munster Senior Cup final in 30 years when they host Shannon in the ODM Munster Senior Challenge Cup final. Dolphin overcame Cashel with a comprehensive 35-3 win over Cashel on New Year s Eve, while Shannon ended Garryowen s title hopes with a 16-14 win on Friday night.
Dolphin 35 Cashel 3
Dolphin had the better start, with the Cork side keeping play inside the Cashel 22 from very early on. The first points of the day came from Dolphin captain James Coughlan who crossed the line after six minutes, with Barry Keeshan converting. Dolphin continued to pile on the pressure, testing the Cashel defence with some great breaks by Keeshan in particular and centre Mike Kingsbeer. The Dolphin pack, led by captain Coughlan, were in superb form, and 11 minutes into the game flanker Derek O Riordan crossed the line after a driving maul from a lineout, giving Dolphin a 12-0 lead and firmly establishing them in the driving seat. Cashel s major problem was lack of possession with Dolphin dictating all over the field and starving the visitors of any clear scoring chances. The greasy conditions were also causing plenty of handling problems for both sides. Dolphin added to Cashel s woes after a 22nd minute penalty from Keeshan. However, Cashel settled and got down to business, with their first clear scoring chance coming after 25 minutes with some excellent work by the backrow combination of Kevin and Edmond Leamy and Eoin O Connor. Two successive penalties brought Cashel five metres out from the Dolphin line but a resolute Dolphin defence was not inclined to crack. However, it marked a turning point for the visitors who demonstrated a hunger not evident in the early stages of the game. Out wide Cashel showed plenty of pace with Diarmuid O Connor at centre and full back John Maher dangerous in attack. They were awarded a penalty in the 39th minute on the halfway line, and a brave attempt at goal by scrum half Ollie McLinchey didn t find its mark. However, just on half time, McLinchey put Cashel s first points on the board from another penalty conversion, to leave it 15-3 to Dolphin at the break.
The match resumed with a steady drizzle falling, and despite Cashel finding themselves inside the Dolphin 22 early on, it was Dolphin who scored next after a superb strike from Barry Keeshan just inside the half way line after 46 minutes. Dolphin stepped up a gear with some dynamic running from the impressive winger Shane O Halloran in particular, who really tested the Cashel defence whenever he put his hands on the ball. Keeshan added to his tally after 67 minutes with another penalty, and Shane O Halloran crossed the line two minutes later to extend their lead. Keeshan once again was on target with the conversion to give the home side a 28-3 lead as the rain got heavier and made conditions even more difficult. Cashel however, showed plenty of character and continued to scrap for possession, despite an ever increasing margin and the clock counting down. Not content with a 25 point lead, Dolphin were impressive in the final stages, still keen to attack and keeping Cashel on the back foot. James Coughlan crossed the line for his second try in injury time with Barry Keeshan sealing the victory with his conversion.
It s the end of the road for Cashel in this competition, who had already beaten Senior sides Sunday s Well and Waterpark to reach the semi final stage. Unable to recover from Dolphin s early scores, the Tipperary side battled hard throughout the game and the score line doesn t reflect in particular their dogged work at the breakdown and their pace out wide. However, for Dolphin, it was a comprehensive performance; with Keeshan and Coughlan particularly impressive, and Shane O Halloran and Mike Kingsbeer in excellent form.
15. John Maher, 14. Alan O Donnell, 13. Diarmuid O Connor, 12. Patrick O Dwyer Hickey, 11. Eamon Foley, 10. Trevor Breen, 9. Oliver McLinchey, 1. Ed Horgan, 2. TJ Hickey, 3. Shane Nolan, 4. Evan Lonergan, 5. TJ Connolly, 6. Eoin O Connor, 7. Kevin Leamy, 8. Edmond Leamy
16. Edwin Thompson for Horgan (63), 17. Patrick Kelly for K. Leamy, 19. Damien Fogarty for Eoin O Connor (HT), 20. Gareth McLinchey for Maher
15. Darragh O Mahony, 14. Shane O Halloran, 13. Mike Kingsbeer, 12. Garry O Keeffe, 11. David Kingston, 10. Barry Keeshan, 9. Jack Purcell, 1. Mick Powell, 2. Kieran Murray, 3. John O Sullivan, 4. Rory McGrath, 5. Dave Harty, 6. Derek O Riordan, 7. Donnacha Murphy, 8. James Coughlan (Capt)
16. Darren Blower for Kieran Murray (66), 18. Kevin Coughlan for Dave Harty (66), 19. George Finn for Derek O Riordan (45), 20. Ger Fitzgerald for Jack Purcell (71)
Referee: Leo Colgan
Shannon 16 Garroywen 14
The cold conditions certainly had no effect on the level of intensity on the pitch at the first semi final in the ODM Munster Senior Challenge Cup in Thomond Park on Friday night. Shannon and Garryowen served up a fantastic display of rugby in a hugely tense but entertaining game in front of an enthusiastic crowd. With both teams flying high at first and second position in the AIL, this semi final certainly lived up to all expectations with the prize of a place in the final of this prestigious competition up for grabs.
With the defeat against Cork Con in the All Ireland Cup still fresh in their minds, Shannon were determined to return to form. However, Garryowen got the better start and went ahead after just two minutes with a penalty kick by out half Conor Kilroy. Garryowen kept play well inside the Shannon 22 for the opening ten minutes with Shannon struggling to settle. However, it wasn t long before Shannon knuckled down and started to create scoring chances, with scrum half Cormac O Loughlin testing out Garryowen full back Andy Finn early on. Despite dominating possession in the second ten minute period, it wasn t until the 20th minute that Shannon levelled the score, with a penalty from out half David Delaney. Garryowen went ahead almost immediately after handling errors from Shannon forced a turnover on their own 22. Garryowen were quick to pounce with winger Ciaran O Boyle finishing off the move with a try in the corner after 22 minutes which was unconverted. Not to be outdone, Shannon replied immediately and the smart thinking of Shannon s Dave Delaney created some extra space out wide with second row Padraic O Brien on hand to score in the corner. Delaney converted to put Shannon 10-8 ahead after 27 minutes. Shannon s lead was short lived as Garryowen s Conor Kilroy put them ahead with a penalty three minutes later. Just on half time, another penalty attempt by Kilroy, kicked almost on the touch line went just right of the posts, so the score remained 11-10 to Garryowen at half time with all still to play for in the second half.
After just two minutes of play in the second half, Delaney put Shannon ahead once more with a well-struck penalty. Solid work from Mossy Lawlor prevented a certain Garryowen try with a great catch on the line. However, Lawlor s knock on seconds later on the line after a kick ahead by Kilroy almost saw Frank McKenna cross the line for Garryowen. A determined Shannon defence prevented Garryowen from crossing the line from the ensuing scrum, with Shannon s Stephen Keogh sent to the bin for his enthusiasm at the breakdown. With Garryowen camped on the Shannon line and with Shannon down to fourteen men, it was certainly the time for Garryowen to make the break. Opting for a scrum when a penalty was awarded close to line on the 59th minute, Garryowen were unable to break the stout defence and a turnover from Shannon put them out of immediate danger, but it was certainly a missed opportunity for Garryowen. Delaney missed a penalty after 60 minutes and a second Shannon player, captain Eddie Halvey was sent to the bin after 62 minutes reducing Shannon to 13 men for a couple of minutes until Keogh s return to the action. Garryowen threw everything at Shannon, but a resolute defence thwarted their efforts, with Mossy Lawlor on hand with some excellent clearing kicks. However, a well struck penalty by Conor Kilroy on 77 minutes edged Garryowen ahead, with just a point separating the teams and a nailbiting finish in the offing. In terms of entertainment value, the crowd certainly weren t disappointed as Shannon were awarded a penalty just two minutes later. Dave Delaney s successful kick only added to the tension as the clock counted down, with Shannon leading 16-14. There were to be no more scores despite a concerted effort from Garryowen, with Shannon on course for the seventh Munster Senior Cup title in a row and their 18th title in all.
15. Mossy Lawlor, 14. Pat O Connor, 13. Brian Tuohy, 12. Ian Dowling, 11. David O Donovan, 10. David Delaney, 9. Cormac O Loughlin, 1. Les Hogan, 2. Frankie Roche, 3. Tony Buckley, 4. David Keane, 5. Padraic O Brien, 6. Donnacha Ryan, 7. Eddie Halvey (Captain), 8. Stephen Keogh
16. Frank McNamara for Cormac O Loughlin (56), 20. Antoin Meany for David Keane (75)
15. Andy Finn, 14. Adam O Loughlin, 13. Ciaran O Boyle, 12. Kevin Hartigan, 11. Cillian O Boyle, 10. Conor Kilroy, 9. Gerry Hurley, 1. Ross O Callaghan, 2. Pat Humphries, 3. Fuzi Paleumo, 4. Frank McKenna, 5. Donal Sheehan, 6. Paul Neville, 7. Anthony Kavanagh, 8. Mark Melbourne
16. Damien Varley for Humphries (63), 17. Rory Brosnan for Paleumo (76), 18. Peter Malone for Sheehan (76), 19. Ed Mackey for Frank McKenna (56)
Referee: Ger English (MAR)
The line up for the 2005/6 final of the ODM Munster Senior Challenge Cup has been decided- with Dolphin taking the final spot after a comprehensive 35-3 win over Junior side Cashel at Musgrave Park on New Year s Eve. Dolphin will make their first appearance in a Munster Senior Cup final in 30 years, having last appeared in 1976 and losing out to UCC 13-10 on that occasion. With defending champions Shannon, who are aiming for their seventh title in a row, waiting in the wings after their 16-14 win over Garryowen in the other semi final, the Cork side will be hoping to create some history of their own.