Visits to the Killing Fields have provided scant pickings for Lansdowne sides over the years, and it was as much with great relief as joy that the Headquarters side welcomed referee George Clancy’s final peal of the whistle last Saturday.
Not only did the result record a rare Lansdowne victory against Young Munster in Limerick, but also the side’s first win in four outings in this season’s Division 1A of the Energia Ireland-sponsored AIL.
This result was carved out through hard work on the training pitch which saw greater cohesiveness on the part of the forwards, in particular, combined with an excellent defensive performance that stifled their opponents at almost every turn.
The Lansdowne line up saw several changes from the previous outing against Trinity, with Aussie centre Connor O’Sullivan and replacement second row Arthur Greene making their AIL debuts for the club, while Leinster scrum half Cormac Foley made a welcome and influential first appearance of the season.
Lansdowne opened brightly with the breeze at their backs on a wet pitch and should have scored in the 12th minute when a surge for the line saw the ball lost forward at the last moment preventing an opening try.
The Young Munster pack began to assert themselves, but a great turn over by second row Dan Murphy, who had a fine match, saw pressure relieved.
The signs were good, however, and Lansdowne duly opened the scoring after 15 minutes when a powerful burst by Leinster Academy prop Temi Lasisi off an attacking line out earned a penalty close to the posts in the Cookies ’22.
Out half Peter Hastie duly did the necessary to set his side ahead by 3 points to nil.
Cormac Foley then struck a beautiful 50/22 off the restart to ensure his side continued to exert pressure on the home defence.
The visitors continued to enjoy territorial advantage, with Hastie using the elements well to keep his side going forward. Their set piece was struggling, however, and this denied them the platform to really cut loose.
Having survived a period of Munster’s pressure, a strong burst by powerful right winger Peter Sullivan on the half hour set up an attack which quickly moved left. A clever chip by the influential Hastie saw left winger Cillian Redmond gather, draw the defence and send a lovely pass inside for full back Michael Sylvester to score wide out.
Hastie struck a sublime conversion from wide out across the breeze to put his side 10 points to nil ahead as the heavens opened, sending many of the spectators running for the cover of the pavilion.
It remained 10 – nil at the break and the visiting supporters were delighted with the performance of their side, although the concession of two first half scrum penalties was an element for concern.
Young Munster are a proud club and they immediately raised their game after the interval, using the elements to good effect. An excellent long kick saw Lansdowne forced to concede a five-metre scrum from which No. 8 Dan Walsh took advantage of an advancing scrum to break off and cross for a try in the 48th minute.
Left winger Conor Hayes struck the conversion, and the Lansdowne lead was cut to 3 points, at 10-7.
The home side continued to exert pressure, and a series of penalties first saw the Cookies’ maul held up over the line and then Hayes level matters with a penalty goal after an hour’s play.
The rain finally relented, but handling conditions remained difficult for both sides. Lansdowne launched an attack through the outstanding Michael Silvester at full back and his intervention led to a series of mauls and recycles which inched under the home posts.
The Lansdowne bench came on and made an impact, Jamie and Frank Kavanagh, in particular, making valuable contributions.
The referee awarded a penalty under the posts. At 10-all, captain Clive Ross, who once again led by example all afternoon, took the brave decision to tap and go. After several drives, tight head Lasisi burrowed his way over the line to the delight of his team-mates and their visiting supporters.
Hastie once again did the honours, putting his side 17-10 ahead with the conversion with just over 10 minutes plus stoppage time remaining.
Lansdowne continued to exert themselves and again forced Munster’s back to their ’22 line. A further penalty was won, and Peter Hastie kicked an excellent goal into the wind from 25 metres out in the 75th minute. This was his fourth success out of four in very difficult kicking conditions and put daylight between the sides at 20-10.
The Headquarters side returned to the offensive and were unlucky not to add to their tally in the 79th minute when they mauled the ball to the home 5 metre line but were turned over.
There was still time for Young Munster to launch a last gasp attack, but they had to content themselves with a penalty from Hayes to gain them a losing bonus points as Lansdowne took well-deserved honours on the day.
Friday night sees us take on high-flying and unbeaten Terenure in round 5 of the League on the Aviva back pitch in what promises to be an epic encounter under lights.
Please come along and support your Club in this momentous season in our Club’s illustrious 150-year history!
Match Report: Michael Daly
Match Details: ENERGIA MEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE, Round 4, DIVISION 1A
YOUNG MUNSTER 13 LANSDOWNE 20, Tom Clifford Park
Scorers: Young Munster: Try: Dan Walsh; Con: Conor Hayes; Pens: Conor Hayes 2
Lansdowne: Tries: Michael Silvester, Temi Lasisi; Cons: Peter Hastie 2; Pens: Peter Hastie 2
HT: Young Munster 0 Lansdowne 10
YOUNG MUNSTER: Shay McCarthy; Conor Hayes, Fionn Gibbons, Evan O’Gorman, Conor Phillips; Jack Lyons, Adam Maher; David Begley, Chris Moore, Conor Bartley, Tom Goggin, Alan Kennedy (capt), Ronan O’Sullivan, Dan Walsh, Bailey Faloon.
Replacements: George Jacobs, Paulo Leleisiuao, Sean Rigney, Conor Nesbitt, Willie Staunton, Harry Fleming.
LANSDOWNE: Michael Silvester; Peter Sullivan, Conall Doherty, Connor O’Sullivan, Cillian Redmond; Peter Hastie, Cormac Foley; Ben Popplewell, Luke Thompson, Temi Lasisi, Conor McMenamin, Dan Murphy, Clive Ross (capt), Joey Szpara, Darragh Murphy.
Replacements: Jamie Kavanagh, Frank Kavanagh, Arthur Greene, Michael O’Brien, Jack Connolly, Kyle Dixon.
Referee: George Clancy