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Lansdowne FC v. University College Cork FC

Ulster Bank AIL Division 1A

2018-19 Season

Aviva Stadium Back Pitch, Saturday, 8th of December 2018             

k.o. 2:30pm

Referee: Leo Colgan 

Lansdowne launched the first of a series of four AIL matches in a row against university opposition with a home bonus-point win against a dogged UCC side on the Aviva back-pitch last Saturday.

The game was preceded by a minute’s silence in honour of John Roche Kelly, the President of our good neighbours, Wanderers FC, who died suddenly last Thursday.

This rare match-up brought back memories of Lansdowne’s first-ever league outing on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch, a 61-13 demolition of UCC in October 2010. Current No. 8 Willie Earle was a try-scorer that day, while one also recalls a previous play-off match between the two clubs a few years earlier on one of the two old grass pitches when the Lansdowne out-half position was occupied by one F. Contepomi and Gordon D’Arcy also played.

The home side fielded Leinster players Tom Daly in the centre and Oisin Dowling in the second row, and both players made a significant impact on proceedings. Tight-head Ian Prendiville marked his 101st AIL match for the Club with a storming performance which earned him the Causeway Capital-sponsored “Man of the Match” accolade.

The by-now notorious Aviva wind had the flags on the stadium side blowing towards the city, while on the river side the wind blew towards Ballsbridge!

From the outset Lansdowne had the edge up front, and several penalties resulted from which out-half Scott Deasy set up attacking line-out positions deep in the visitors’22.

From the second of these hooker Ronan Kelleher was at the back of a line-out maul which drove over for the opening try with only 4 minutes on the clock.

Deasy was unable to add the extras in the swirling conditions, but Lansdowne appeared well-set to take advantage of their superiority up front and establish a significant early lead.

Instead, it was the Students who responded with a penalty by impressive out-half James Taylor after 20 minutes, Lansdowne having failed to seize another attacking position deep in the UCC ’22 in the meantime.

Lansdowne then had to wait until the 27th minute to extend their lead. Once again, it was highly-impressive hooker Ronan Kelleher on hand to plunge over the line following a series of pick-and-goes close to the university side’s line.

Scott Deasy added the extras for a 12-3 lead and, with the floodlights coming on, some in the smallish attendance again expected the floodgates to open. The home supporters anticipation had to be curbed, however, as the visitors’ tenacious defence and some lapses in concentration by the Headquarters side ensured the score remained unchanged at the break.

With Jack O’Sullivan, Kelleher, Dowling and loose-head Denis Coulson putting in powerful shifts, Lansdowne opened the second half with real intent – no doubt motivated by the coach’s encouragement during the half-time team talk.

An early UCC clearance kick was blocked down and Lansdowne established an attacking platform in the Corkmen’s ’22. Once again, the Students had no answer to the ensuing driving maul and flanker Aaron Conneely emerged with the ball to record his fourth try in the last two matches.

UCC were certainly not finished and were bolstered by the arrival of subs Ryan Murphy, Darragh Maloney and scrum half John Poland – nephew of our own Brian Poland. They took a quick tap penalty which Lansdowne failed to clear and it was Murphy who crossed for a try which the home side won’t be too happy to see again on review.

Taylor added the extras and the home lead was reduced to 7 points – 17-10. Sub backs Tom Roche and Alan Bennie came on and moments later it was the latter who fed centre Tom Daly, who put in an irresistible surge to dive over close to the posts. Deasy converted and Lansdowne had secured a try-bonus point and a 24-10 advantage.

The home side continued to play in fits and starts, and the Lee-siders were quick to take advantage. Lively flanker Fergus Hennessy was involved in setting up the chance and sub back Darragh Moloney was on hand to narrow the gap to 24 points to 15.

A yellow card to the visitors’ for a late tackle on Oisin Dowling stifled UCC’s momentum, however, and a series of attacks failed to breach the home defence. There was still time for Lansdowne to use their most effective weapon – their rolling line-out maul – and once again it was the beefy Kelleher who dotted down to complete an impressive hat trick of tries to stretch the lead to 29-15.

With Scott Deasy pushing the final score out to 31-15, there will be plenty for the Lansdowne coaches to ponder over in a performance that was a bit like the proverbial parson’s egg – good in parts…

Next up is a visit to College Park on Saturday to play a resurgent Trinity side which Tony Smeeth has done a remarkable with, having lost most of last season’s team. There will be no room for complacency as Lansdowne seek to extend their winning run to seven matches and enter the Christmas break on a high.

 

Michael Daly

 

                                LANSDOWNE 31 UCC 15, Aviva Stadium back pitch

Scorers: Lansdowne: Tries: Ronan Kelleher 2, Aaron Conneely 2, Tom Daly; Cons: Scott Deasy 3
UCC: Tries: Ryan Murphy, Darragh Moloney; Con: James Taylor; Pen: James Taylor

HT: Lansdowne 12 UCC 3

LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills (capt); Daniel McEvoy, Harry Brennan, Tom Daly, Mark O’Keeffe; Scott Deasy, Tim Murphy; Denis Coulson, Ronan Kelleher, Ian Prendiville, David O’Connor, Oisin Dowling, Jack O’Sullivan, Aaron Conneely, Willie Earle.

Replacements: Tyrone Moran, Ntinga Mpiko, Willie Fay, Alan Bennie, Tom Roche.

 

UCC: Rob Hedderman; Adam O’Connor, Michael Clune, Peter Sylvester, Matt Bowen; James Taylor, Colin Sisk; Shane O’Hanlon, Paidi McCarthy, Bryan O’Connor, Cian Barry, Brian O’Mahony, Lee McSherry, Fergus Hennessy, Daire Feeney (capt).

Replacements: Travis Coomey, Daragh Fitzgerald, Ryan Murphy, Darragh Moloney, John Poland.

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