Lansdowne U17s have made it to the final of the Leinster Schools/Youth league after a heroic defensive display against Greystones in DLSP, Kilternan.
We always knew that this side had talent, but today they found their heart with a gritty display of tackling, especially in the last quarter of the game where they held back countless assaults on their line.
Spurred on by their supporters, Lansdowne, playing into the wind, got the big start they wanted when Alex McEvoy put in a thundering tackle on Greystones big no 8, their best player. Shortly afterwards centre Harry Brennan spun out of a couple of tackles to score wide out on the left to put Lansdowne 5-0 ahead after 10 minutes, Jack Mulcahy narrowly missing the conversion. Greystones used the wind to kick long and then started to use their no 8 to punch holes from the base of the scrum, but every time there was a Lansdowne player chopping him at the ankles. When they spun the ball to their backs, the Lansdowne shooters quickly disrupted their centres.
Greystones, under constant pressure from Lansdowne, were starting to make handling errors and Lansdowne were quick to capitalise on every loose ball. Lansdowne were penalised at a ruck right in front of their posts and Greystones converted to make it 5-3. Lansdowne had few scoring chances, but a barnstorming break from Andre Madigan nearly brought a score. The first half ended with Lansdowne defending their own line from the bigger Greystones pack. After a series of lineout mauls & scrums Greystones knocked on just short of the line and the half time whistle came.
Lansdowne started the second half with a bit of wind assist. Jack Mulcahy, whose kicking out of hand was excellent throughout the match, kicked long to keep Greystones pinned into the corners. From the base of a 5 yard scrum captain Thomas Costello picked up and broke on the blind. Fending off two tackles and neatly avoiding the touchline, he crashed over in the corner to extend Lansdowne’s lead with a superb solo effort. Jack Mulcahy was just short with the conversion attempt. Lansdowne were showing some confidence now in the mud and their backline threatened to score on a couple of occasions with some slick passing. After one such move broke down Greystones intercepted and only a great cover tackle from Rob Kelly prevented a score. Lansdowne scrambled well and cleared their lines.
But it was Greystones who dominated the last quarter, with the match being played mostly inside the Lansdowne 22. Attack after attack was repelled with every member of the Lansdowne XV putting their bodies on the line. Greystones finally scored wide out in the dying minutes, but were unable to convert into the wind.
Lansdowne had held out for a superb win in a match played in great spirit by both sides and will now play Newbridge or Terenure in the final. Date TBD.
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