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Metro League Division 5

Friday 21 October

Exuberant J3’s Dominant as they Dispatch Wanderers

Lansdowne 33 – 0 Wanderers

 

One of the many delights of Lansdowne junior rugby at the moment is the competition for places on each team.  Even among the J3 coaches and management, Dave Tunney, Mark Quinn, Shane D’Alton and James Caslin wrestle on the sideline to take credit for these wonderful performances! But there’s no need because there’s so much credit to go around, as the injured captain, Rob Troy leads his team into the mid term break undefeated and top of their league.  Bravo.

Their performance in a wind and rain swept HQ on Friday night showed they were worth every point of their leading position at the top of the table.  From the kick off, they owned the game, forwards and backs blending into a smooth running unit and defying the difficult conditions to play some champagne (well, OK then Prosecco) rugby!

Dominance yielded dividends early on as that prolific try scorer (his first in five years!), Shane Kennedy went over in the corner before the game was 10 minutes old. 5 – 0. Then came our second from stalwart centre Josh Healy, who cut through the Wanderers’ midfield defence like a hot knife through butter. A conversion from versatile outhalf, JJ Walshe and it was 12 – 0.  Josh would soon reload and repeat putting the next points on the board before too long, with JJ repeating the honours  19 – 0.

But Josh wouldn’t have it all his own way on the night of star performances.  Veteran wingforward/prop Ross Farrell showed his steel with his second try in as many matches. 26 – 0.

But it was as the game drew to a close that we witnessed what will go down as contender for try of the season from JJ Walshe.  Camped on their 22 for about 5 minutes, conventional attacks seemed to be bearing little fruit. So when the ball came out from yet another line out maul, the multi-talented JJ defied the slippery conditions to produce a little magic. He chipped delicately over the oncoming defence, with sub second row (if anything, looking even more devilishly handsome than in our last report of his appearance v Monkstown!) Michael Whelan plucked it equally delicately out of the air and ran like a gazelle for a full five meters before passing it back inside again to JJ, who touched down under the post. JJ then put the cherry on the icing, converting his own try.  (If you think I’m biased, sideline reporter James Caslin also described it on the night: “JJ with a lovely try. Little chip over the top from JJ and Wheelo gathered and passed back to him!”  And thanks also to Michael O’Brien’s fantastic photos which captured the sequence. This year’s Whelan Christmas card is sorted, thanks Mick!)

But if Shane, Josh (2), Ross and JJ were impressive in attack, the defence in the centre kept a clean sheet and made Lansdowne road a fortress for our J3s that night. For that and for every other game he played for us, we have to pay special thanks to Thibauld Fravel. (Michael O’B’s photos also capture one of his crushing tackles excellently) Thibauld, or “T-Bone” as his teammates call him, is heading back to NYC after three great years with us.  Thibault played a wonderful part in our extended squad’s life on and off the pitch, on home soil and also on tour. One powerful statistic is that Josh Healy and he never lost a game while playing together for Lansdowne! So this resounding  victory was an appropriate farewell … or should we say Au Revoir!

Thibauld leaves us in great stead as we take a well-earned rest for Halloween.  What a brilliant start for this team and by extension the whole junior squad.

Enjoy the break lads!

Brian Whelan

Match Report – Brian Whelan

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