Lansdowne right wing Daniel McEvoy’s three tries hallmarked an excellent Lansdowne performance against an understrength UCD side in Belfield last Friday evening.
On a bitterly cold night, McEvoy warmed Lansdowne hearts with a top-class exhibition of finishing and, in doing so, extended his season’s AIL tally to 9 tries, topping the League’s try scoring chart.
The Lansdowne scrum was in total control throughout the match, and Jacob Walshe, Tyrone Moran and captain Ian Prendiville gave their student opponents a torrid time. The first three scrums resulted in penalties against the home side and from the last of these out half Scott Deasy opened the scoring in the 12th minute.
Collidge immediately went on the attack, only to cough up an intercept on the Lansdowne ‘22. Mark Roche, who was once again in brilliant form, made it to within 30 metres of the UCD before cleverly drawing the covering defence to set the supporting McEvoy away for the first try of the night after 14 minutes. Deasy was unable to convert, but Lansdowne were 8-0 up and in the driving seat.
The Lansdowne blitz outside defence unsettled the Student’s backline, although they were able to exploit the inside channel more successfully as, in true Collidge style, they ran the ball at every available occasion. They were unable to breach the visitor’s defence, however, and a swift attack down the left and a quick switch saw Under 20 wing forward Barry Fitzpatrick cross in the right-hand corner to extend the Lansdowne lead to 13 points to nil after 22 minutes’ play.
UCD continued to press, but coughed up possession far too easily, enabling Lansdowne to clear several threatening attacks. On the half hour, they finally made a well-deserved breakthrough, left winger Tom Fletcher latching onto a grubber through by second row Brian Cawley to cross wide out to open the UCD account.
Lansdowne’s reply was immediate, and Scott Deasy placed a precision cross kick for full back Eamonn Mills to gather, draw in the cover and send McEvoy away again for a well-worked score in the right corner as the lead stretched to 18-5 to the Headquarter’s side after 35 minutes.
Two minutes later UCD were again guilty of sloppy play, this time throwing a loose pass that was gratefully snapped up by speedy Seven’s international John O’Donnell in the centre, who crossed under the posts. Deasy had no problem with the conversion and Lansdowne were leading by a significant, if somewhat flattering, 25-8 lead at half time, with the bonus point secured.
Lansdowne’s domination of the scrum continued after the break, and the pack turned over another Collidge scrum and won an early penalty. Foster Horan on the left wing made a telling run, and a few minutes later combined with Roche to almost set McEvoy away again; this time the scrambling UCD cover managed to plug the gap.
On 46 minutes a scrum penalty lineout into the corner saw hooker Ty Moran dispel any hopes the Students had of making a comeback when he was mauled over in the corner for Lansdowne’s fifth try. Deasy slotted over the conversion for seven metres in for the touchline with a fine kick and a 32-8 lead.
Two minutes later Moran was almost in again, this time a beautifully popped ball by lively scrum half Alan Bennie sending him up the middle, only for desperate Collidge cover to scramble away the threat.
Bennie was more successful in the 49th minute, when he again threatened, this time freeing up McEvoy to romp over for his 9th try of the campaign and his fifth in the last two matches. Scott Deasy again confidently added the extras to establish a 39-8 advantage as the League-toppers stretched away.
Only a misfiring lineout marred the Lansdowne performance, and several penalty line-outs were lost as the game, long over as a contest, began to peter out. Young tyro Charlie McMickan came on for Scott Deasy and slotted two neatly struck penalties as Lansdowne wound down what was a strong performance, almost mirroring the 45-10 result in the corresponding fixture last November.
The back row of Charlie Butterworth, Fitzpatrick and No. 8 Willie Earl were the dominant force up front, and second rowers Stephen Gardiner and Josh O’Rourke put in good shifts in the boiler room. When the line out performs to the same level of the rest of the side’s play, this team will really take off. Make sure you are there on the day that happens!
With the League two-thirds over, Lansdowne benefitted from the defeats of Young Munster against a resurgent Terenure side – who have won three on the bounce since the Christmas break – and Cork Con, who lost to Clontarf in Castle Avenue, to establish a six point lead at the top of the table.
Next up is our first ever home AIL match against Trinity next Saturday, the 18th of February. Don’t forget to book in for the pre-match lunch in the clubhouse at 1:00pm before the 2:30pm kick off.
Result: UCD RFC 8 Lansdowne FC 45
Competition: Ulster Bank AIL Division 1A 2016-17
Where: Belfield Bowl, Fri. 10th February 2017 k.o. 7:30pmReferee: Andy Brace
Article related to 1st XV team.
Article related to 1st XV v UCD fixture.