Workaholic Lunney Inspires Shamrock Victory

MatchReportShamrocks have revived memories of their 2016 season form with an energetic 37 – 24 win over Campbelltown at Ocean Park. With fifteen minutes left on the clock the Rocks held a commanding 37 – 10 lead before the Quinnies found some intensity which was missing earlier in the match to cross for two converted tries adding some respectability to the score-line.

The much bigger Campbelltown forward pack took command early as it appeared as though it was only a matter of time before they rolled over their smaller opponents. At the set piece the Rocks could make little if any impact on a very solid Campbelltown scrum. However as they often did in 2016 on their march to the Grand Final, the Rocks produced a tenacious defensive effort to close the Quinnies attack down. Inspired by a tireless effort from No.8 Iszac Lunney, the Shamrocks forward pack showed more composure and efficiency at the breakdown to dominate all but the final minutes of each half.

Played in blustery conditions the match started slowly as both sides struggled to find early momentum in the conditions. Campbelltown had first use of a strong southerly wind but made little use of the advantage.

The goal kickers produced a penalty goal each before after twenty minutes Shamrocks star Half-Back Rory Davis took up from where he left off last week. Davis scored four times last week and produced another remarkable effort to score the first try of the match. The Rocks were attacking the Quinnies line with a penalty pending when Davis producing a jinking effort from fifteen meters out leaving three defenders in his wake to score the Rocks first try. Fullback Ryan Shoupp converted the try and added another penalty goal for the Rocks to lead 13 – 3 closing in on the break.

A succession of penalties allowed Campbelltown to advance on the Rocks line as Halfback Mitchell Gordon took full advantage of an overpowering scrum drive from the Quinnies to score on the stroke of half time to get his side back in contention. Converting his own try Gorden had taken his side to within three of the lead with the score at 10 – 13 at the break.

The Rocks put on two tries within ten minutes of the resumption to take a very firm grip on the match and never looked in danger of losing as they continued to outplay their bigger opponents in general play. Just two minutes into the half Lunney caught the Quinnies out when he took a quick penalty tap just in the Campbelltown half of the field and bolted away. The ever dangerous Davis loomed in support of Lunney and cleverly positioned a rampaging center Dale Sullivan who scored next to the posts. At the fifty minute mark Fly-Half Ben Ridgeway pilfered the ball some forty meters out and raced away unimpeded to score under the posts. Schoupp’s two conversions took Shamrocks to healthy 27 – 10 lead.

With twenty minutes left in the match Campbelltown’s rep Fly-Half Etuate Lolohea was sin binned for a dangerous tackle on his opposite number Ridgeway and the Rocks took full advantage going out to a 37 – 10 lead in his absence. Davis produced another of his incisive runs in the Quinnies quarter putting Sullivan in space again who found winger Thomas McDevitt on the left for the try in the corner. In a superb goal kicking performance in difficult conditions Schoupp converted from the sideline and added a further penalty goal before Campbelltown were back to full numbers.

As the Rocks coach Ron Davis went to his bench resting several players the Quinnies found the required intensity to put on two tries through Flanker Hector Tapueluelu, but it was all too little too late.

Giving away many Kilos of weight in the forwards and offering little resistance to the Campbelltown scrum, Shamrocks all-round performance and work ethic in general play was outstanding. There was no better performer on the field than Rocks No.8 Iszac Lunney. His fellow forwards, veteran Hooker Anthony Allport, Flanker Gareth Thomas and Lock Damien Clark literally worked themselves into the ground. Rory Davis was freakish in much of what he did today making several strong runs breaking tackles with ease belying his small stature. Center Dale Sullivan and Fly-half Ridgeway were standouts as was the first class goal kicking of Ryan Schoupp who made seven from eight in very difficult windy conditions.

For Campbelltown, they were well served by Hooker Jamieson Laga and flanker Hector Tapueluelu, with Fullback Greg Dunn busy and halfback Mitchell Gordon looking to inspire his side throughout the afternoon, adding to his perfect goal kicking effort of four from four. The Quinnies will need to find more intensity in their effort if they are to have any impact in the coming weeks.

Shamrocks 37 (Rory Davis 1 try, Dale Sullivan 1 try, Ben Ridgeway 1 try, Thomas McDevitt 1 try, Ryan Schoupp 4 goals, 3 penalty goals)

Def Campbelltown 24 (Hector Tapueluelu 2 tries, Mitchell Gordon 1 try, 3 goals, 1 penalty goal)

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Avondale 29 Def Tech Waratahs 27

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