High-flying Terenure came to town last Friday night and duly left with the spoils following a most entertaining Division 1A match in the Energia-sponsored All Ireland League.
Terenure stand on maximum points after five bonus point wins but were made to wait until the last minute of regular time to clinch their latest bonus point win, having gradually worn down a tenacious Lansdowne defence that tackled tirelessly throughout the game.
The first scrum on a perfect night for rugby led to a penalty for the home side which set up an attacking line out in the visitor’s ’22. The subsequent line out was lost however, and this was to reflect a fairly dismal performance out of touch by Lansdowne throughout the contest.
A great 50/22 kick by Leinster scrum half Cormac Foley set up a line out platform inside the ‘Nure ’22 which saw his fellow Leinster man, hooker Tadgh McElroy, peel off and make inroads into the Terenure defence.
Foley latched onto the recycle, the ball was spun right and speedy full back Michael Silvester outpaced the defence to cross in the corner in the eight minute.
Out half Peter Hastie was unable to add the extras, but it was nonetheless a bright start by the Headquarters side.
Terenure reduced the margin with a well-struck penalty by the accurate Caolan Dooley in the 9th minute, the centre kicking 5 from 6 on the night.
Terenure then went ahead after 14 minutes when Lansdowne failed to deal with an accurate cross kick; left winger Stephen O’Neill won an aerial duel with Silvester to cross for an opportunistic try. Dooley goaled, and the Lakelanders were 10-5 to the good after 17 minutes.
Lansdowne continued to play well, but only fitfully. Too often, good approach work was spoiled by the concession of a turn-over or penalty which led to little continuity in their play.
Terenure, on the other hand, were slowly building up a head of steam which saw their pack exert mounting pressure on an overworked home 8.
Lansdowne still looked dangerous on the break, however, and a lovely cut by Aussie centre Connor O’Sullivan saw an interchange of passes and a surge towards the ‘Nure line. Centre Colm de Buitlear dived in to kill the ball and earned himself a yellow card for his efforts.
Lansdowne sought to take immediate advantage with a tap from the resultant penalty; the ball was recycled a few times before skipper Clive Ross plunged over for a try.
Hastie added the extras close to the half time whistle and Lansdowne found themselves, somewhat improbably, leading by 12 points to 10 going into the break.
That effort, unfortunately, was the last time Lansdowne troubled the scoreboard as they failed to record any points during the second half.
After a promising opening which saw loose head Ben Popplewell and centre Conal Doherty on the burst, possession slowly dried up as the home forwards sought to counter a visiting side that was growing in confidence as the minutes passed.
From a line out on their own 10 metre line Terenure launched an attack down the left. O’Neill made the initial break and passed inside to his supporting full back LaGrue, who dotted down gratefully in the 46th minute.
Dooley had his only miss from the tee, but his side were now 15-12 ahead, and it was a lead they were not to relinquish on the night.
The Lansdowne defence was strong but their scrum now came under severe pressure and conceded a series of penalties. The D6W side took full advantage and only some stout defence by Ross, second row Dan Murphy and No. 8 Darragh Murphy, in particular, kept them out.
Terenure swept up field in another attack which culminated in a sin binning for second row Conor McMenamin as he took one for the team.
A penalty for offside saw the visitors maul a penalty line-out to the home line and impressive flanker Conall Boomer blast over for a crucial try which effectively broke the home defence. Dooley converted to put his side ahead by 22 points to 12.
Dooley nudged his side further ahead with a successful penalty in the 65th minute as ‘Nure sought to seal the deal – somewhat surprisingly, as they were within one try of a bonus point.
Their patience was rewarded, however, when former Lansdowne scrum half Alan Bennie dived over for the bonus point-clinching try in the 79th minute. Dooley rounded off a fine kicking display with the conversion to see his side home by what in the end was a comfortable enough win for the visitors by a margin of 32 points to 12.
Lansdowne’s task doesn’t get any easier; next up is a trip south to take on Cork Con, never an easy assignment!
Match Report: Michael Daly
LANSDOWNE 12 TERENURE COLLEGE 32, Aviva Stadium back pitch
Scorers: Lansdowne: Tries: Clive Ross, Michael Silvester; Con: Peter Hastie
Terenure College: Tries: Adam La Grue, Stephen O’Neill, Alan Bennie, Conall Boomer; Cons: Caolan Dooley 3; Pens: Caolan Dooley 2
HT: Lansdowne 12 Terenure College 10
LANSDOWNE: Michael Silvester; Peter Sullivan, Conall Doherty, Connor O’Sullivan, Cillian Redmond; Peter Hastie, Cormac Foley; Ben Popplewell, Tadgh McElroy, Temi Lasisi, Conor McMenamin, Dan Murphy, Clive Ross (capt), Joey Szpara, Darragh Murphy.
Replacements: Jamie Kavanagh, Frank Kavangah, Arthur Greene, Luke Thompson, Mike Walsh, Charlie Tector.
TERENURE COLLEGE: Adam La Grue; Stephen O’Neill, Colm de Buitléar, Caolan Dooley, Craig Adams; Callum Smith, Alan Bennie; Campbell Classon, Sean McNulty, Adam Tuite, Harrison Brewer (capt), Michael Melia, Conall Boomer, Luke Clohessy, Jordan Coghlan.
Replacements: Levi Vaughan, Liam Hyland, Craig Trenier, Adam Melia, James Thornton, Henry McErlean.
Referee: Andrew Cole