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Shannon 50 – Naas 10   22/02/2020

Having amassed three consecutive wins since the turn the year, Naas travelled to Thomand Park to face Shannon last Saturday afternoon in confident mood. Add to this fact their very good record against their Limerick rivals and there was plenty of reasons for this optimism, but unfortunately it was one of those days that nothing went right for them and they fell to a heavy defeat.

Considering all the recent rain the pitch was in great shape for this fixture which a large crowd attended. Within four minutes the home side were in front when the referee Peter Martin penalised Naas for not releasing, and Ben Daly was presented with an easy chance which he made no mistake with. They increased their lead after 12 minutes with a try that came from an unforced error from Naas. The visitors won a line-out but lost possession as they attempted to set up a driving maul and Shannon countered with devastating effect. They quickly shipped the ball out wide to Eathon Maloney who chipped ahead and won the race to touchdown for the score. The conversion was missed but Shannon led by eightpoints.

The Munstermen had a chance to extend this on 21 minutes when the Naas backs strayed offside. It was an easy chance for Ben Daly but he pulled his effort to the left, however within 30 seconds Shannon did score. Luke Clohessy gathered the resulting 22 drop out, he galloped down the right wing, before putting in a deft chip over the Naas defence into the path of the Nathan Randles who gathered to ball to score. Daly made no mistake with this kick to extend the lead to 15.

Naas were living off scraps at this stage but finally managed to gain a bit of possession and launched a decent attack. They went through many phases and good carries by Adam Coyle, Craig Adams and Johnny Holmes forced Shannon to concede a penalty at a ruck, which Peter Osborne slotted over to give the visitors their first score of the afternoon.

But it was Shannon who were to finish the half the stronger and they scored their third try on 36 minutes. Ben Daly was controlling the game at out-half for Shannon and he made a superb break on half-way which completely carved the Naas defence open. Good handlng by the home backs carried on the move and Eathon Maloney was on hand to finish off the attack and score in the left corner. A superb conversion by Daly finished the scoring for the half which Shannon in front by 22 points to 3.

Within five minutes of the restart Shannon had their bonus try scoring point. The referee penalised Naas for wheeling a scrum on half-way and the penalty was dispatched to touch. From this Shannon set up a driving maul which drove Naas right back and Kelvin Brown was awarded the try. The successful conversion by Daly made it 29-3 to the home side.

Naas to their credit continued to battle away and were rewarded with a try of their own on 52 minutes. They turned over the ball at a ruck just outside the Shannon 22 and Adam Coyle then found a gap in the Shannon defence to bring play right up to the try line. Naas battered away at the line and after many phases David Benn finally managed to get over for the score which Peter Osborne converted.

Any thoughts of a sensational comeback were quickly extinguished within sixty seconds after 61 minutes of play when Naas received not one but two yellow cards, Bryan Croke and Ben Swindlehurst being the unwanted recipients. If they were finding it hard to contain Shannon with fifteen men they had no chance with thirteen, and in the following ten minutes they was acres of space for the home side to exploit. They were clinical in doing this and in this period they added no less than three tries through Pa Ryan (2) and Ben Daly. With the latter converting all three Shannon were now 50-10 in front. That was to be the final score and the home side were fully merited winners.

At no stage did Naas ever stop trying but it was one of those days when nothing they tried worked. They have to quickly put this defeat behind them as they face Banbridge at home next Saturday in what now is a vital game for them to win. Kick-off is at 2.30pm and all support will be greatly appreciated.

Shannon: Jamie McGarry, Nathan Randles, Pa Ryan, Jack O’Donnell, Eathon Maloney, Ben Daly, Aaron Hehir, Emmett O’Callaghan, Eoghan Clarke, Ciaran Parker, Ronan Coffey, Sean McCarthy, Luke Clohessy, Kelvin Brown, Lee Nicholas. Replacements: Conor Glynn, Jordan Prenderville, Alan Ftizgerald, Keith Kavanagh, John Bateman.
Naas: Peter Osborne, Fionn Higgins, Craig Adams, Ben Swindlehurst, Matt Stapleton, Bryan Croke, Gary Kavanagh, Adam Coyle, Graham Reynolds, Peter King, Paul Monahan, David Benn, Johnny Holmes, Ryan Casey, Paulie Tolofua. Replacements: Conor Doyle, Jack Barry, Tom Brady, James Hawkey, Joe Darcy.

Other Naas RFC Results this weekend:
Junior 2: Naas 15. Rathdrum 7.
Under-20s: Naas 36. Skerries 34.
Under-18s: Naas 31 Boyne 27.
Under-15s: Naas 15. Mullingar 5.
Under-14s Girls: Naas 36. Greystones 0.


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