Wow! This was a humdinger of a game by any standards and had the large and enthusiastic crowd well entertained in a showpiece game for the Energia-sponsored AIL Division 1A on the Aviva back pitch last Saturday.
Nine tries scored – five in favour of the visitors – in this clash between second and third, this was a high stakes collision that did the League and both clubs involved proud.
With only one try between the sides, this match could have been regarded as quite a close affair. In truth, the D6 men were comfortable winners on the day and well deserving of the sustained applause they received from their supporters at full time.
Lansdowne made the early running against a stiff breeze, scrum half Foley taking a quick penalty close to the Terenure line which saw a try saving tackle in the corner and the visitors scrambling in defence.
Lansdowne failed to deal with a clearing kick and Terenure turned the ball over; making progress to the home 5 metre line. The ball then broke Lansdowne’s way, and quick hands to the left saw speedy left-wing Sean Galvin set clear on his own ’22.
Galvin made ground and kicked ahead, winning the race to the line only to be fouled by the visitor’s full back, Adam LaGrue; the referee awarded a penalty try and LaGrue spent the next ten minutes on the naughty chair.
Eight minutes of fast and furious early action had set the tone for the afternoon; what followed lived up to, and even surpassed, this entre.
Terenure drew level in the 14th minute following the concession of two penalties in a row by the Headquarter’s side which enabled them to set up camp close to the home line. Lansdowne defended well initially, but the defence was sucked in and Terenure exploited this with a try wide out on the right by winger Jake Swaine which he converted himself from the touchline. 7-apiece, and the Terenure score had come with 14 men on the pitch.
The visitors, with their big back rowers Jordan Coughlan and captain Harrison Brewer to the fore, struck again in the 21st minute, this time from a solid scrum base on the left. The ball was spun right, and good hands found the Lansdowne midfield defence, for once, wanting. Powerful centre Colm de Buitlear bustled over in the corner to give his side a 12-7 lead.
Lansdowne renewed their efforts, and a great jackal by loose head Frank Kavanagh helped pressurise a penalty which returning Ireland Under 20 Grand Slam winning out half, Charlie Tector, nailed to reduce the arrears to 12 – 10 in the 24th minute.
Four minutes later Tector was again accurate with the boot, landing a longer-range effort from 42 metres to nudge his side 13-12 ahead.
From the restart, Foley was unlucky to see his clearing kick go out on the full and Terenure took full advantage, replacement Caolan Dooley, on for Swaine, crossing on the right to put his side ahead 17-13. It was a lead that his side was not to relinquish subsequently.
Lansdowne suffered a serious blow before the half hour with an injury to their inspirational captain, Jack O’Sullivan, and his presence was sorely missed by the Headquarters side. He was eventually replaced by Matt Healy.
Terenure were winning the key challenges up front, using their size and weight advantage to good effect. They increased their lead to 22-13 in first half injury time with a Dooley penalty as they enjoyed a period of sustained pressure that had the home defence pinned to their collars to withstand the surge.
Adam Boland came on at the break for Ben Popplewell at tight head but was yellow carded shortly afterwards as Lansdowne struggled to hold out a LeGrue-inspired kick return that almost yielded another try for the visitors.
Lansdowne resisted a series of penalty scrums close to their line, and the siege was lifted temporarily. Worse was to come when Lansdowne second row Dan Murphy also received a temporary suspension as discipline slipped under pressure and the home team were reduced to 13 men.
This was a key moment in the match, and Terenure took full advantage of their numerical superiority, two converted tries in quick succession from de Buitlear (his second) and left wing Craig Adams stretching their lead to an unassailable 36-13, with the try bonus point in the bag, to boot.
Eventually restored to numerical parity, Lansdowne knuckled down to their task. A line out maul off a penalty saw replacement hooker Jamie Kavanagh power over for a morale-boosting try on 68 minutes; his predecessor at no. 2 having moved to the back row as Lansdowne reshuffled their forces.
Try as they might, Lansdowne could not break the stranglehold Terenure were imposing. Two further penalties by the very accurate Dooley stretched his side’s lead to 42 points to 18 with ten minutes left to play.
Lansdowne continued to battle, and the visitors may have taken their foot off the throttle a little; either way, there was still time for the Headquarters side to restore some equilibrium to the score line with two further late tries.
The first came from Lansdowne’s best back, winger Peter Sullivan, off a quickly taken line out and the second, bonus-point gaining effort from restored second rower Murphy, converted by replacement Stephen Madigan, to give a final score line of 30 points to 42 in favour of the visitors.
Lansdowne were beaten by a very good Terenure side on the day, and now travel to Cork Con next Saturday for their final league fixture before a likely trip to Lakelands Park in the semi-final.
Match Report: Michael Daly
Match Details: ENERGIA MEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE, ROUND 17: DIVISION 1A:
Venue: Aviva Stadium back pitch
Date: Saturday 2nd April, 2022
Time: k.o. 2.30pm
LANSDOWNE 30 TERENURE COLLEGE 42
Scorers: Lansdowne: Tries: Penalty try, Jamie Kavanagh, Dan Murphy, Peter Sullivan; Cons: Pen try con, Charlie Tector; Pens: Charlie Tector 2
Terenure College: Tries: Jake Swaine, Colm de Buitléar 2, Caolan Dooley, Craig Adams; Cons: Jake Swaine, Caolan Dooley 3; Pens: Caolan Dooley 3
HT: Lansdowne 13 Terenure College 22
LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills; Peter Sullivan, Andy Marks, Paul Kiernan, Sean Galvin; Charlie Tector, Cormac Foley; Frank Kavanagh, Luke Thompson, Ben Popplewell, Ruairi Clarke, Dan Murphy, Clive Ross, Jack O’Sullivan (capt), Mark Boyle.
Replacements: Jamie Kavanagh, Adam Boland, Matthew Healy, Jack Matthews, Stephen Madigan, Corey Reid.
TERENURE COLLEGE: Adam La Grue; Jake Swaine, Colm de Buitléar, Peter Sylvester, Craig Adams; Cathal Marsh, Alan Bennie; Dewald Barnard, Levi Vaughan, Adam Tuite, Matthew Caffrey, Michael Melia, Harrison Brewer (capt), Luke Clohessy, Jordan Coghlan.
Replacements: Conor McCormack, Andy Keating, Mike Murphy, Conall Boomer, James Thornton, Caolan Dooley.
Referee: Eoghan Cross