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05/11/2023

Lansdowne v Old Wesley J1

Metro League Division 1

69 – 28 

 

The J1 outfit put on a fine attacking rugby display in their headquarters fixture against Old Wesley, running out comfortable winners by 10 tries to 4. The standard of all-out attack was at times sublime, with sweeping backs and forwards movement leading to some fine entertainment for the spectators who had turned up to watch this game.
That being said, the J’1’s did concede four tries to the opposition who in securing a try right at the end of the game managed to secure a bonus point from the fixture so there is definitely something to work on this week at training in terms of tightening up their defence.

The game opened with Old Wesley having the advantage of the prevailing wind, and immediately they went on the offensive securing some penalty decisions allowing them to gain field position deep in the Lansdowne 22. It was from this attacking line out, and the rolling maul that followed, that the away team secured the opening points with a well taken try, expertly converted making the score line 0 – 7. However, this was the last time they would lead in the game, as back came to J1’s with a penalty goal from Tom Gavigan, followed quickly after by a sniping try from scrum half Oisin Devitt, which was converted by Gavigan leaving the score line at 10 – 7.

The J1’s had by now shrugged off their slow start and from the restart immediately went on the offensive. Gaining good field position and allowing a beautiful darting attack from scrum half Devitt to allow him score a replica of his first try close to the right hand post, converted by Gavigan left the score line at 17-7. The away team Old Wesley looked a bit shell shocked following these two quick tries and needed to hit back straight away. They managed this following some penalty transgressions that allowed field position deep inside the Lansdowne 22. Again from an attacking line out and the play that followed, that Old Wesley muscled their way over the line, with the conversion it closed the score line to 17 – 14.

This was as close as they would get, and despite their best efforts, what followed was a blitz of attacking rugby from the J1’s. This manifested itself in some really good play between backs and forwards, and following another expansive attack winger Matt Hodgkins touched down to increase the lead for the J1s to 24 – 14, following the conversion from Gavigan. That was not the end of the halftime scoring, and the bonus point was achieved following a very good run by No.8 Lúc Culliton who broke straight through the heart of the Old Wesley defence, rounded the full back and touched down the near the left-hand post, with the conversion the score was 31 – 14. Again, there was still time for yet more attacking rugby, and with their tails up it was left to that beautifully balanced runner and full back Michael Sylvester to score and the Gavigan  doing the necessary, the halftime score at 38 – 14.

The second half started with the J1’s on the attack, and this time it was forward power which moved the score line out further with quick fire tries from both Teddy Boland and Evan Downey, one converted, the score line was 50 – 14.
There was no answer from Old Wesley and although they were valiant in defence, they were not able to quell the intense expansive attacking rugby they were facing. There followed further tries by flanker Robbie Kidney and Hodgkins, increasing the scoreline further to 62 – 14.

There was still a considerable time to play and you have to hand it to Old Wesley, they never gave up and had their best period of the game. However, they were not able to string together  enough good phases of play, with often knock on mistakes giving possession back to the J1’s. They did, however, manage to score again after a breakout and good forward play making the score line 62 – 21. It prompted a reply from the home team and that is what happened following a deft chip kick through, which was gathered by centre Tom Monaghan who scored the J1s tenth try under the posts with Gavigan converting making the score 69 – 21. In fairness to Old Wesley back they came, and it was them who scored a very late try out on the right from their winger, giving them a bonus point and ending the game with the final score 69 – 28.

It had been a very good attacking performance from the J1’s, which greatly pleased both coaches and management with room to work on in terms of tightening up the defence. It was a game enjoyed by the spectators who saw many tries, and play of a high standard. It was also very well refereed, and the game kept flowing without too many stops and starts.
Lansdowne flanker Donough Lawlor shined despite receiving a yellow card during the middle of the second-half. He carried the ball on many occasions, and was very effective at getting the go forward ball, combined that with a high tackle count in defence making him the player of the match. In the back line, there was also a fine performance from Centre Tom Monaghan whose all-action go-forward type game makes him a bundle of energy, and a difficult man to put down when in full flight. And he was rewarded with the closing try of the game which he fully deserved and certainly ran Lawlor close for the player of the match.
In summary, a fine performance by the J ones which raises them back to the top of the division on points difference, with the three leading teams – Lansdowne, Clontarf and Old Wesley – on the same points.

One feels that this division this year is going to be very tight; many of the teams in the division are beating each other making it close at the top of the table. This was game six of the league season, and the side now moves on to Game 7 which is the halfway point of the league. Fixtures away to Terenure, a team who have had a mixed start to the campaign but over the last few seasons have been very strong at this level.
The J ones must produce more of the same; the attacking flair of their display last Sunday and a tightening up of their defence, will no doubt be competitive this season and are certainly well worth coming down to watch.

Match Report – John Kilroy

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