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10/03/2024

 Lansdowne v Terenure J1

Metro League Division 1

Match fixture No.14 on the

31 – 14

 

A strong looking J1 team took to the field for their final regular league match of the season and by the end of it they had achieved another bonus point win their fifth such bonus point win in a row. However, even though they have accumulated 52 points in the 14 games of the regular season they do not make the league final. This is due to the high level of points accumulated by two rival teams in this division and means that they have fallen agonizingly short of defending their league crown.
They finish level on points with the 2nd place team, but due to the rules of this competition, are deemed third and the results from today have meant that despite huge effort, there will not be a league final this season.

This game opened with a fast start from the home team, which was needed, and following a lovely kick through by out half Tom Gavigan, that arch finisher Oisin Devitt continued his outstanding try scoring feats for the season and added to his total. Gavigan added the extras, and the lead had been taken at 7 – 0. From the restart the intensity continued, and it did not take long for try no. 2 to come. This time following a line out in the Terenure ‘22 which was won and quickly moved to allow the backs to attack the goal line, and in particular Brian Barron to crash over from close in similar to a try he scored last week with Gavigan making the conversion the score now stood at 14-0.

The J1’s knew a bonus point was required and were really going at the opposition from early in the game, but it was Terenure who replied with a try of their own, following a partial intercept which was kicked through and touched down by their centre to reduce the scoreline with the conversion added to 14 – 7. This only proved a minor setback as the J1 forward pack engineered good field position in the form of a line out in the Terenure ‘22, which was again secured and successfully mauled, allowing forward Luke Thompson to barge his way through and over a couple of tackles to score close into the left-hand posts with the conversion added increasing the score line to 21 – 7.
There were only 20 minutes gone in the game and again the J1’s were already eyeing the much-needed bonus point. They went on the offensive to allow in open play the ball to be passed out to the left touchline into the waiting hands of No. 8 Darragh Murphy who showed a fine turn of foot to run down the touchline, and score near the right-hand corner meaning that the objective had been achieved and the score changed to 26 – 7. This was a whirlwind start as only 25 minutes had elapsed and the game then seemed to go into a lull in what was a dead rubber for Terenure. The 1st half meandered to a close without any further change on the scoreboard to leave the halftime score at 26 – 7.

The message at halftime was to deliver more of the same, and to grind down the opposition but what followed in the second half was a scrappy affair with by and large both teams cancelling each other out. The game became error strewn with both teams coughing up possession from promising positions, and a number of yellow cards dished out. For me, the second half was probably the scrappiest half in any game this J1 team has played all season and was entirely forgettable.
There was however a further try from Dan McEvoy who intercepted a Terenure break out from inside their ‘22 to dot down under the posts with amazingly the conversion missed. The last score of the game was to go to the visitors with 10 minutes to play after some good work from their back line which was converted and meant that the final score was 31 – 14.

A scrappy finish to the season in terms of the game itself but there were good performances by Tom Gavigan, who seems to be hitting form, and also from Dan McEvoy and Matt Hodgkins who made some very good runs throughout the game. In the forwards, Sean Walsh was good out of touch, as was Luke Thompson very effective in loose play.

To summarise, this has been a good league season for the J1 team who have maintained a high standard throughout the campaign. Certainly it can be said that they play as a team and for each other. There is a good team spirit and they are excellently coached by the Nugent brothers who do a most important job. Mention as well to their faithful physiotherapist Darragh Mangan who always does his job in a very effective and diligent way, and is a gentleman. Also mention for Ryan Coyle who has come to the last five games and made a fine contribution to the team and its organization. He shows the importance of volunteering and giving back to the club & the game that we all love to watch and get great enjoyment from.
Huge credit must go to them for the fight and high level of performance over the last number of weeks where they have dominated fixtures. They have won five consecutive games, and have achieved a bonus point in each of those games. However it is Clontarf who have won the division by two points, and Trinity who have shaded the outcome for second, that will contest the league final. Focus must now turn for the J1’s to the Metropolitan cup, and their opening fixture in this will be against Blackrock College RFC on Thursday the 14th of March at 8:00 PM in Stradbrook.

That is it for the league campaign for this season, but I will return with a summary of the opening round encounter of the Metropolitan cup, where the J1’s will be seeking to retain their crown.

Match Report – John Kilroy

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