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Striking out from Dublin to Cork at 7am on Saturday morning, the Lansdowne U11s set forth on another memorable trip to Cork Constitution. Even though there is a new found stretch in the evenings there was nothing to indicate this as darkness and a cold chill greeted both players and parents at Lansdowne Rd as they boarded the Cork bound coach. The squad, numbering 26 strong, was in buoyant mood and was eagerly anticipating the opportunity of playing in Temple Hill for the second year in succession.

Lansdowne fielded two teams and Con three, so played three games over 60 minutes. The series of six games proved to be a fabulous curtain raiser for the main event – the clash of AIL league leaders Lansdowne and Cork Constitution.

There are many aspects to playing any team sport and on this trip we witnessed a deepening team camaraderie, individual displays of pure brilliance and honest endeavour by each and every player. Sometimes it is difficult to measure the progress of your team but feedback from parents and sideline spectators was that this Lansdowne group had come on leaps and bounds since their 2012 trip to Temple Hill.

Team 1: Ted Corry, William Dineen, Dylan Walsh, Matthew Tonge, John Duffy, George Coman, David Hale, Ben Lockhart, Callum O’Reilly, Mark McGrane, Matthew O’Farrell, Stephen O’Callaghan, Dan Markey.

Team2: Oscar O’Brien, James Crowley, Sam Hayes, David Walsh, Michael Whelan, Conor Salttery, Barry Whelan, Ben McDowell, Geoffrey Larkin, Ethan Ballard, JJ Hession, John Bennett, David Nagle.

Clubs have tags and for Lansodwne it’s long been that they play a fast and free-flowing running game. Never was this more true than yesterday in Temple Hill. The running game can’t function or ‘flow’ unless the basics are nailed and both Lansdowne teams rucked and mauled to a level not seen before. This was due in the main to the challenge set by the home team and the physicality of the Cork Con U11s was such that it demanded the Lansdowne boys find a new gear; one that they found and applied with some panache and style.

On a day when so many players stood up to be counted you are reluctant to pick out players but there was two moves, one from each team, that are worthy of mention. Dan Markey, playing as hooker, won a ball against the head (technically not allowed but it happened, so well done), and then followed the play as the ball was spread to the far wing where he followed up, gathered and touched down for a great try. On the other team, from a line out on our own try line, Geoff Larkin gathered a ball and jigged and danced all the way to the opposing Cork Con try line to score a magnificent try.

Thanks to our ever warm and hospitable hosts, Cork Con. Their new club house looks magnificent and we were treated to a lovely meal in their new function room.

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