MUNSTER SENIOR CUP FINAL
Shannon 17 Garryowen 8
Shannon collected their sixth consecutive Munster Senior Cup title in Thomond Park with a 17-8 win over Garryowen. Fresh from their AIL victories the previous weekend, all thoughts of the AIL League were temporarily put aside, with fans treated to the spectacle of the top two teams in the country competing for the prestigious title. Having met in the Munster Senior Cup final last year, Garryowen were hoping to seek revenge for that loss; however they were unable to deny Shannon their 17th Munster Senior Cup title.
Garryowen made the better start, having some good possession in the opening period and creating a number of chances. They were awarded a penalty in the 10th minute, but the kick from scrum half Gerry Hurley didn t find its target. However, against the run of play it was Shannon who got the first points on the board, with a try from full back Dave O Donovan after 17 minutes, set up by Fiach O Loughlin and Tony Buckley. Out half Dave Delaney converted to give Shannon a seven point lead. Delaney added another three points after 31 minutes, and converted Dave O Donovan s second try of the day close to half time, stretching the lead to 17-0 at the break and completing Shannon s scoring in the match.
After the restart, Garryowen were boosted by a Gerry Hurley penalty in the first minute, and continued to fight hard for possession. The game remained locked for much of the half, with Garryowen continuing to exert pressure on the Shannon defence. Shannon held out until the 83rd minute, when winger Alan Purcell eventually breaking through. It wasn t enough though to unseat the champions, and Shannon held out for the win.
Shannon s progress to the final never looked in doubt, defeating Old Crescent 36-11 in the first round, and getting a walkover from Sunday s Well in the quarter final. Mick Galwey s side swept aside Cork Constitution in the semi final, on a 26-3 score line.
For both teams, all attention now turns to the AIL. Having beaten Blackrock College 26-20 at home the previous weekend, Garryowen have booked a home semi final against Belfast Harlequins, while Shannon will host Clontarf. Wins for both Munster teams will mean the sides will meet again in the coming weeks for the climax of the domestic season.
PATH TO THE FINAL
SHANNON R1: 12/12/2004 Shannon 36 Old Crescent 11 QF: Walkover (Sunday s Well) SF: 19/03/2005: Shannon 26 Cork Constitution 3
GARRYOWEN R1: 20/11/2004: Garryowen 19 UL Bohemian 9 QF: 26/02/2004: Garryowen 13 Thomond 10 SF: 20/03/2005: UCC 26 Garryowen 32
Garryowen Team: 15. Andrew Finn, 14. David Heaton, 13. Ray Niland, 12. Kevin Hartigan, 11. Alan Purcell, 10. Conan Doyle, 9. Gerry Hurley, 1. Ross Callaghan, 2. Pat Humphries, 3. Robert Laffan, 4. Mark Melbourne, 5. Donal Sheehan, 6. Eoin Nihill, 7. Ciaran Gallagher, 8. Peter Malone Substitutions: Rob Henderson for Ray Niland, Kieran O Boyle for David Heaton, Conor Hartigan for Ciaran Gallagher
Shannon Team: 15. David O Donovan, 14. Fionn McLoughlin, 13. Brian Tuohy, 12. Eoghan Cahill, 11. Ian Dowling, 10. David Delaney, 9. Fiach O Loughlin, 1. Frank Roche, 2. Jerry Flannery, 3. Tony Buckley, 4. Tom Hayes, 5. Trevor Hogan, 6. Colm McMahon, 7. John O Connor, 8. Stephen Keogh Substitutions: Les Hogan for Frank Roche, Dave Quinlan for John O Connor, Tom Creegan for David O Donovan