The Lansdowne U17s closed out a most challenging season with a titanic game against a strong and determined Barnhall side at HQ on Sunday.
Lansdowne were caught short with a number of pre-match withdrawals and had to take to the pitch with 15 players and no bench to call upon. Visitors, Barnhall, on the other hand, were 15 strong with a full bench.
The game started with Barnhall imposing themselves with a larger and heavier pack. Not soon after, Barnhall touched down for their first try of the game. Failing to convert, they led 0-5.
They followed up with another try, this time, some speedy footwork from the centres and winger, saw them extend their lead with an unconverted try to 0-10.
Barnhall closed out the first half with their third and final try, this time converted and took them to the break with a 0-17 lead.
Going into the second half, Lansdowne trailed by 17 points but this was the beginning of a remarkable comeback. Lansdowne scored two tries which they converted from the boot of Ben Delaney, and the score stood at 14-17, a three-point lead for Barnhall. At the same time, stout defence kept Barnhall out and it was remarkable, given their superior size and bench, that the Lansdowne 15 kept them scoreless in the second half.
Barnhall ran out 14-17 winners in the end but the score line doesn’t do justice to the intensity and performance of both teams, especially the 15 Lansdowne players.
A special note of thanks to Barry Goulding who is stepping down as the head coach of the U17s. Barry has been an integral part of the success of the 17s at Lansdowne in recent years. Despite the upheaval of the protracted lockdown, Barry ensured that there was continuity in training and games, when permitted. We all wish Barry the very best of luck on his upcoming travels and look forward to seeing him don his coache’s hat again at some point in the future.