Shamrocks celebrate 50th anniversary with victory over fierce rivals

Physical contest: Shamrocks centre Dale Sullivan. Picture: Sylvia Liber.
Physical contest: Shamrocks centre Dale Sullivan. Picture: Sylvia Liber.

Shamrocks have honoured their 50th anniversary by holding off a fast-finishing Vikings to claim a memorable victory over their fierce rivals.

Playing in front of a sizeable home crowd at Ocean Park, Shamrocks burst out of the gates to race to a 17-0 halftime lead.

They then held their nerve in the second to secure a tense 27-21 victory, with coach Paul Ridgway praising his team for digging in to secure the win.

"Overall I was happy with the first half, to be up 17-0 at halftime," Ridgway said. "With a pretty stiff wind, we needed that lead. Our first half was pretty impressive.

"But Vikings are a really good side, it was a physical encounter and Vikings teams don't ever give up. They would have come here today as part of our 50th celebrations, it's a long rivalry and they came to play. They kept coming and they could have got away with it in the end there."

The two teams were evenly balanced throughout much of the match, with Vikings looking threatening when they held the ball for repeated phases. They struggled to build pressure, however, with numerous errors preventing the visitors from capitalising on their opportunities.

Despite the errors, Vikings came close to spoiling the party when they finally clicked into gear throughout the final 20 minutes. Converted tries in the 68th and 78th minutes cut the deficit to just six points.

Those two tries set up a grandstand finish, with Vikings having one last attempt to pull off the comeback. Shamrocks held firm, however, to secure the victory.

On the charge: Vikings prop Joel Diggins fends off a Shamrocks defender. Picture: Sylvia Liber.

On the charge: Vikings prop Joel Diggins fends off a Shamrocks defender. Picture: Sylvia Liber.

"Our guys have an appetite for that physical part of the game. Their defensive structures are really good and they trust each other a lot.

"We talk a lot about not letting teams cross our line, that's the most points anyone's scored against us since round two when we played Avondale. It's a real strength of our game and that's a credit to Vikings, they played some really good footy."

The victory capped a successful day for Shamrocks, with the club claiming victories in all three grades. For Ridgway, the club's culture shone through in each team's performance.

"It's a big day for the club. You don't have to look too far to see a lot of old faces around and that it means a lot to us.

"We're a club that's built on hard work and people chipping in and working together. We're proud of the fact we're all juniors, we don't bring any people in and that's important to us."

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