We started reasonably well in this Metro Cup 2nd Round tie, but were caught cold after 7 minutes when Clontarf moved a ball well and we missed a couple of tackles to let the winger score. We struggled at the breakdown against a bigger pack who were driving through the middle well and forcing turnovers, and we were also drifting across the pitch when moving the ball.
We competed well for the rest of the 1st half and Callum O’Reilly was unlucky not to score after a great run. 7-0 to Clontarf at half –time.
At half-time we resolved to improve two main areas of our play. Firstly, committing more bodies to the breakdown to protect our ball, and secondly, running harder and straighter in the back line.
The players upped the intensity from the kick-off, and following a line-out steal and drive from Luke MacMahon, a hard line from Brian Barron created some space and another straight line saw Matthew Tonge run in from 30 yards to score.
Shortly after, a strong run from JJ Hession, carried on by Ben Lockhart created pressure for Michael Whelan to score from close in. We were well in control at the breakdown now, disrupting their line-outs and winning the collisions. JJ Hession took a short ball and swatted some tacklers aside to run in from 40 yards and touch down under the sticks, Ben Lockhart adding the points.
With 5 minutes to go, we went through the phases superbly which culminated in a lovely off-load from Brian Barron to release Oscar Bolger who sprinted in to score, Ben Lockhart kicking a fine conversion.
Clontarf to their credit never gave up and after a period of pressure on our line scored a try out wide with the last play of the game. Lansdowne the victors 24-12.
JJ, Brian, Matthew all had big games as usual, but just as important was Oscar O'Brien's leadership, Luke McMahon's work in the lineout, Oscar Bolger’s running, Ted Corry's work-rate, and the rest too. Hard to pick someone who had a poor game - a real team effort.
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