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25/03/2023

Bective Rangers 7 – 59 Lansdowne J2s

Albert O’Connell Cup 

 

Businesslike. That’s the best word for it.

Ross Barry fielded as strong a J2 selection as we’ve seen in the club in years (still missing you, of course, Paddy Butler!) and it was clear from the opening minutes that we were going to prevail.  The hosts, Bective had won the league in their division, but as their captain observed ruefully under the posts after conceding a third try in 15 minutes, they were “in a different league now!”

The opener came from a rejuvenated Will McEvoy, shedding years (and let’s be honest, kilos) with every game. Brother Andy McEvoy followed up two minutes later with his first deposit to our account and the trifecta was completed by centre, Bill McNamara who wanted to do more than just convert others’ tries by scoring one of his own.  0 – 19 inside 15 minutes.

The pattern was clear now and while Bective did their best to contain us, battling fiercely in the set pieces, our open play tore them apart and they were no match for our robust defence.  Next, Andy Mc was the last to touch down a wonderful team movement started by a line break and majestic off-load from outhalf JJ Walsh and we went into the half time break ahead by 24 points.

The second half wouldn’t hold much solace for the Rangers either and it was only a few minutes old when the Lansdowne squad’s strength in depth was illustrated with a spell-binding try from substitute Steve “Stewie” Morris. Bill converted again and we were 31 points in the clear.

Credit to the hosts, they didn’t lie down, and a sustained period of possession eventually created a gap in our defences which they gratefully exploited, taking the naked look off their side of the scoreboard. 7 – 31

But as we’ve seen before with this group, when we concede a try, it’s like a slap on the face and the lads take it personally. There followed a period of ferocious attack, mostly from forwards like Aaron Daly (playing the best this correspondent has seen him do in five years),and Celtic Twins, Andrew McInnes and Conor Horan. It was a miracle the Bective lads held out against the tsunami for as long as five minutes before David (“Cap’n Kav”) Kavanagh finally scored. 7 – 38

This was no procession though, but a tough cup tie and the injury count was starting to pile up on both sides.  So it was a credit to “cool hand” Ross’s management of the bench as players came off and back on the dance floor in the last quarter like the final of Dancing with the Stars.  But as if pain and fatigue were strangers to us, we never let up the pace and next it was Duracell-Bunny wingforward Luc Van Cauwelaert to score. 7 – 45.

But the Bective lads never gave up and in the last five minutes they had most of the territory and possession, so you’d have to be a stone not to feel a bit of sympathy for them when we broke out of our own 22 and scored twice more. First it was evergreen winger Kevin O’Connor who buried the ghost of earlier missed opportunities with an excellent break, beating two tackles before sprinting nearly the full length of the pitch. By the time the hosts kicked out to restart, they were a spent force and Bill McNamara took full advantage by intercepting a pass in the centre and running the length of the pitch from our 22 as well.  The ninth and final nail in the coffin.

Final score 7 – 59.  Job done. And how.

 

Match Report – Brian Whelan

 

 

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