Shock and Awe ………….!!
Clontarf 29 Shannon 8
Clontarf snapped back into form on Saturday in Castle Avenue and fairly swept Shannon away with a combination of pace and power that has not been seen in Clontarf for quite a while. Any sideline worries that the Con defeat was the beginning of a drift in standards were dispelled by a performance that was unstoppable for large parts of the match. Shannon will be a little disappointed, and will be a force in the return fixture, but on Saturday they struggled to get to the pace of the game from the start.
Clontarf opened the scoring after 5 minutes when Collie O’Shea mullered a ruck and Barry O’Mahony executed a perfect pick up and stormed through the gap left by O’Shea’s monster clear out. Clontarf continued to dominate possession and territory and were looking good for another score when a dropped pass in a crowded blindside was whipped away for Shannon to, ultimately, score to the right of the posts. Both sides exchange penalties for a 10 8 Clontarf lead at the break.
The second half was outstanding with Clontarf unleashing a direct power game through Simon Crawford, Killian Lett, and man of the match Ben Barclay, supported by width and pace orchestrated by Evan Ryan at 10. There was some bar chat afterwards about handling errors which, frankly, were more to do with ambition than sloppiness. When you are playing at that pace the slightest inaccuracy in a pass anywhere along the line will probably result in a misalignment out wide. This will come right over time.
To be fair it hardly mattered because the pack was happy to operate close in also.
After 6 minutes of the second half Clontarf showed their intent by declining two wind assisted penalty opportunities to go instead for the corner and possession.
After numerous phases of withering power, Simon Crawford crashed over for 15 8.
He followed it up on 67 minutes with a wicked piece of smuggling at a ruck in front of the Shannon posts that saw him in again; this time untouched.
With 10 minutes remaining Killian Lett followed up a hanging box kick from Sam Cronin and found himself, happily, in possession of the ball heading for the line, and a bonus point, without a soul to run over!
This was a great performance against one of the Leagues top clubs who were lying in third place at the start of the match. It was a significant step up in performance from anything seen from ‘Tarf so far this season. Notable, also, was that 4 of last years U 21’s were involved with three of them in the pack at the end of the game.
Congratulations to Barry O’Mahony and the rest of his squad for the intent they showed right from the off. They may have noticed that the crowd was a little quiet and subdued …….. That was shock and awe………..