Metro League Divison 1
Clontarf 13 v 10 Lansdowne J1
This was “one of those games” that we did not get out of the starting blocks and as a result stumbled through a first half with a lot of mistakes where not much really happened with each team cancelling each other out in a low scoring encounter.
That said it is a game we could have won. The match began with a quick-fire penalty to Clontarf which was converted in the first minute and turned out to be the only score of the first half. Both teams had their moments, but by and large it was the home team that came closer to adding to their total before half time.
After the break, things started to open a bit more with a lot more attacking play from each team. However, this was mixed up with many mistakes and the game was littered with penalties on both sides, and many scrums led to the game slowing down. Thus, neither side could dominate possession or field position.
Lansdowne improved playing into the breeze but were often set back by long touch finding kicks from the Clontarf out half, who for the writer, was the best man on the field on the day. Lansdowne continued to probe away and after a near miss from Liam O’ Sullivan, following a flat pass which was adjudged forward by the referee almost changed the lead, but a scrum followed with Clontarf clearing their lines. Back came Lansdowne with some slick back play and it was from one of these movements and a nice inside pass, that led to what was the opening try of the game. From that most skillful of wingers, Dan McEvoy, racing through a gap to touchdown close to the posts meaning Lansdowne took the lead with the extras from Stephen Madigan, leaving the score line at seven points to three.
The home side raised their game with 25 minutes to play, and a good forward rumble and tactical kicking gave them good field position, but with resolute defense for Lansdowne, they were held out. However, phase possession followed, and it was from one of these sections of play that the Clontarf forwards rumbled towards the try line. A forward pass to their winger, led to a near miss try matching the earlier one from Lansdowne. The home side continued to press and once more, after a good forward play, they rumbled close to the Lansdowne line and finally broke through for a try from their prop Michael Fitzpatrick. Their stylish No.10 again slotted the conversion with a fine kick, so they again took the lead at 10 points to 7.
Lansdowne came back, and after probing attacks, they gained good field positions. A penalty was awarded which was converted by Stephen Madigan to make the score line 10 points all. The game kicked off again, and it was straight from the kick which was gathered by Lansdowne, that a penalty was conceded. Again, the accurate number 10 with cool aplomb bisected the posts and changed the score line back in Clontarf’s favour at 13 to 10 with 10 minutes to play.
There was still time for Lansdowne to come back and to their credit they tried very hard. They secured a penalty within range only for Madigan to be agonizingly wide with his kick, which struck the outside of the post and fell wide rather than going through and levelling the scores. The home side exited and brought play to the halfway line. They held possession running down the clock and despite valiant effort from the Lansdowne they were never able to secure the chance needed to level the scores. It must be said that this was a very good win for the home team, who celebrated at the final whistle and congratulations to them.
For Lansdowne, division leaders up to this point, this was a rather flat performance. One that felt like it had been left behind but, that the team had just not done enough on the day, thus a second loss of the season went down on their record.
Though this was a very close loss, the score line could have been different if the breaks had gone in favour of the away team. A frustrating match but part and parcel of this league, which is very competitive, and the focus must now turn to the next game as the halfway mark of the season has been reached. The reverse fixtures with the various teams in the league must now be played, so for this team it is now on to a home fixture with Old Wesley at the end of November.
Match Report – John Kilroy