Trinity travelled to the heart of Munster to play iconic Shannon, winners of more All Ireland Division One championships than any other club in Ireland. Shannon have been inconsistent this season but over the past two seasons have always seemed to trouble the
Students. This game was no different. The home team were very motivated to get a win to get out of the relegation zone, and the Visitors were struggling to get over the emotional roller coaster loss to Garryowen last week.
Shannon had first use of the strong wind at the very open Coonagh Rugby ground. They pounded the Trinity line early on and managed to kick a penalty. Trinity dominated long periods into the wind by keeping the ball, and should have come away with points when they camped out on the Shannon line for several minutes, but they lost concentration in a scrum when they looked likely to be awarded a penalty try. Shannon kicked another penalty late in the first half to give themselves a six point cushion at the turn around.
Trinity looked to have the game sorted in the second half when they scored a try early to go 7-6 up with the wind in their favour. Debutant out half Tommy Whittle put his hooker in under the posts with a nice trailer play. But Shannon came back off therestart to turn the ball over and set up a 30 metre driving maul in the middle of the field to score a superb power try, which really got their supporters into the game.
Trinity again came back and played their best rugby controlling the ball against the heavy hitting home team. They scored again when no 8 Tom Ryan dummied his way over under the posts after several rucks near the Shannon line.
14-13 up was never comfortable, but when full back Conor Kearns intercepted from 70 metres out Trinity looked like they maybe could push on and get a bonus point for four tries. Shannon had other ideas and pressured the Students into many errors. Although Trinity had the wind they just could not get out of their own half. In the dying minutes Shannon lifted their game one more time and the inevitable goal line stand occurred with Trinity backs to the their posts. They managed to hold out and take the points. Shannon got the vital bonus point which should see them clear of relegation.
With the two top teams (Galwegians and Garryowen) both winning, Trinity have stayed in touch with three games to go. They need one of the top teams to lose, and they need to win all their games possibly with bonus points. No doubt there will be one or two more twists before this season is over.Next week Trinity host Buccaneers in College Park. First time out in November resulted
in a draw 20-20.
Trinity team; 15 Conor Kearns, 14 Tim Maupin, 13 Michael Courtney, 12 Paddy Lavelle, 11 Jack Fitzpatrick, 10 Tommy Whittle. 9 Brian Slater, 1 George Walsh (Andy Keating 50), 2 Richard Halpin, 3 Tom Collis, 4 Jack Burke, 5 Pierce Dargan, 6 Nick McCarthy (Raef Tyrell 50), 7 Brian Du Toit, 8 Tom Ryan (Patrick Finlay 75).