As if with biblical symbolism, at 2.00pm on Saturday the storm clouds cleared at HQ just in time for the kick off, marking the first encounter for the J2 – J3 squad with another team in 18 months. The long darkness all but over, a bright new season has begun!
Tallaght made the journey through torrential rain and had to prepare for the game under the clubhouse canopy, but their coach cheerfully claimed that they were delighted to get the run out. And in spite of the fact that our collection of players were a bit fitter and sharper, which was reflected in the scoreline, the visitors put up a credible performance making it an excellent and enjoyable exercise for both sides.
Oran James broke the seal on the lockdown and kicked off for the home side, unleashing wave after wave of phases culminating in a try for Luis Castro in the first three minutes. Still stunned, Tallaght hadn’t fully formed their defences from the restart and allowed Oran through a yawning gap in the centre for a 30 metre solo try under the post. Not that we needed any reminding of the eagerness of our lads, Oran quickly sealed his try with a quickly taken drop goal conversion. Twelve nil to the home side after half as many minutes.
But Tallaght regrouped and soon their defences were properly formed and the game settled into an oh-so-welcome physical arm wrestle. Nevertheless, the home side prevailed again and Kevin O’Connor finished off a move that saw the ball move through every pair of hands in the backline making it 17 – 0 as the teams took their first 20 minute break. The intensity hardly let up in the second 20, as Shane Donnelly finished off another excellently worked series of phases soon after the break. Five minutes later, Oran followed up a menacing up and under with a crushing tackle on the unfortunate catcher, releasing the ball which Conor Byrne pounced on for the second try of the second phase making it 24 – 0.
And the trend continued in the final period, marked by two great tries from new Lansdowne members, number 8 from Scotland, Andrew McInnes, and winger Adigehji Okoro, from Cahirciveen.
But the sporting visitors never gave up and scored their own excellent try to close an very satisfying afternoon’s rugby.
Full time, Lansdowne 43 – 7 Tallaght.
Jesus, it’s great to be back!
Match Report – Brian Whelan