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25/11/2022

 

 

Metro League  Divison 1

Monkstown Dogos 0 – 47 Lansdowne

 

The J3 road show continued to provide a great spectacle of rugby and a comfortable win on what must be one of the best pitches in Leinster, Monkstown FC, last Friday evening.  The healthy number of traveling supporters were treated to a seven try feast with a dessert of the best near miss of the season.

Full marks to the Doggos, a collection of Argentinians living in Dublin and hosted by Monkstown FC, for putting a team together and entering this league, but the gulf in class was evident within the first three minutes.  Center, Ben Flynn cut through a gap in the middle of the field that had been created by a series of phases, drawing the defences wide.  Scrum half, Rory (aka Roberto) Durand made short work of the conversion and the writing was already starting to appear on the wall for the Doggos.

There followed a period of what looked like well-matched and open play from both sides, but in reality, Lansdowne were always in control. Next on the score sheet was attacking full back, Tadhg Brennan who finished off a patient and well-constructed series of plays.  Roberto did the honours again and it was 14 nil to Lansdowne after less than 25 minutes.

It was a night of comebacks, and it was great to see the familiar shape of Donal Liddy back in a Lansdowne jersey (after captaining the Defence Forces’ team), albeit in an unfamiliar position of centre.  It was only a few minutes after Tadhg’s score that Donal made his presence felt in that old familiar way of his as he powered through the faltering midfield defence with an emphatic try. 21 nil. More was to follow from Donal, but not before some others had their turn.

The other comeback kid of the night was captain, Robert Troy and he would remind us of his silky hands and kicking skills before too long. But before he rejoined the team from the bench, that other great servant of the club, Will McEvoy was keeping the 10 slot warm for him with his own brand of expert game management.  He passed and kicked and occasionally broke the gain line, keeping his opposition guessing as to his next move, so it was only fitting that just before Rory replaced him, his hard work was rewarded when he was on the end of a pass from dashing-in-every-sense second row, Michael Whelan.  Rory/Roberto converted again, and the score was 28 nil with the bonus point in the bag on the half hour mark.

But there was still more to see before the half time break.  And what a sight (for some of us in particular!).  The Doggos’ spirit was more than a little frayed at the edges and it is to their credit that they kept up as much of a defence as they did, but there was no stopping this now rampant J3 team. The ball came out to the right of a scrum in the middle of the pitch and scrum half Rory (Duran) Durand and winger Paddy Meenan interpassed the ball, bewildering the frantically back-pedalling defences. It would have been fitting if one or other of them had finished the move with a score near the corner, but unselfish Rory saw a supporting runner infield and made the generous pass to him. And so it was that the graceful and athletic lock, Michael Whelan, gathered the pass and finished another move under the posts, to the sideline sounds of cheers and some silent sobbing from his delirious Dad!

Half time score 0 – 35.

Our score rate may have declined a little in the second half, but the quiet competence of our defences never did and even with the Doggos revitalized after the break, they never looked like breaking through.

Speaking of defences, it was that poster boy of the nation’s Defence Forces, Liddy who got the scoreboard moving again in the second half.  Another powerful and determined break saw him go over in the corner when the second half was just over 10 minutes old.  40 nil.

They say forwards win matches and the backs just decide by how much, but the last score of the evening came from sub forward Conor Horan, who powered over the line with ten minutes to go, two or three Doggos men hanging off him as he did.  0 – 47 final score.

Two Postscripts:

First, the tries we scored were pretty darn good by any measure (especially the two involving that man Michael Whelan!), but the best try of the night was the one we just missed scoring.  Reminding us what a class act he is, Rob Troy swung to the blind side of a scrum on the half way at the last moment to receive a pass from Rory Durand; he passed short to inside centre, Ben Flynn then looped outside him to receive it again and deliver another perfectly timed pass to Jack Mulcahy on the wing. Jack steamed down the line, but veered inside again, linking up with winger Rory Boyle, who took it into contact and a ruck formed. We’re not sure what happened in the ruck, but several of the Lansdowne supporters suggested (in their new-found quiet and respectful voices!) that it should have been a penalty.  We suspect Captain Rob did too, as he chose to take a kick across pitch into space where Liddy was waiting. Honestly, the kick was inch perfect, there was no one covering. Liddy had one job. Just ONE job! But his hat trick wasn’t to be.  If he had caught it, it would have been the team try of the season, but we’ll just have to wait another week for that!

The second PS is to give special mention and thanks to Luc Van Cauwelaert who returned the captain’s armband (so to speak) to Rob Troy after holding the job for the weeks of Rob’s injury. Luc didn’t just show great stamina and courage in his own performances, but also proved he is a natural leader, particularly noteworthy as he is one of the youngest men on the squad. And like a proper club man, he (together with Will McEvoy) would go on to put in another great performance the next day for the J2s.

Well done one and all.

 

Match Report – Brian Whelan

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