Lansdowne celebrated the Club’s inaugural President’s Charity Day in style with a seven-try blitz against Garryowen in a most entertaining match on the Aviva back pitch last Saturday.
There is little doubt that the Headquarters club have made the new 4G pitch their fortress, as they chalked up their eighth home win on the spin this season, in which they have recorded a seriously impressive average of over 44 points a game.
Garryowen played their full part in the entertainment, but in the end had to bow the knee to a sterling Lansdowne performance by both backs and forwards to which, ultimately, they had no answer. Thus was revenge gained for two narrow losses in Dooradoyle in the League and Bateman Cup earlier in the season.
Lansdowne fly half, Scott Deasy, currently in a rich vein of form and in his 103rd League appearance for the Club, kicked an impressive 7 from 9 in a chill breeze which blew from the pavilion end of the ground to record a 17-point tally.
Lansdowne made a slow start and, playing with the breeze, relied on penalties from Deasy in the 18th, 21st and 27th minutes to establish a 9-0 lead in the face of some stern defence on the part of the Limerickmen.
It was Garryowen who then opened up, taking advantage of the home side’s concession of penalties (7 in the first half) to work their way up-field. From a 5-metre maul following one such penalty, the visitors moved the ball wide for left winger Cian O’Shea to go straight through a home defence for once guilty of a lapse in concentration to reduce the lead on 32 minutes. Shortly after, centre David McCarthy muscled his way over on the angle on 38 minutes to snatch the lead.
With both tries converted by full back Jamie Heuston, Garryowen suddenly found themselves 14-9 to the good on the cusp of half time. Just as suddenly, they found themselves behind as, from the re-start, powerful winger Peter Sullivan chipped through and set up an attack in the Garryowen ’22. The ball was recycled for Deasy to set up the voracious Sullivan to cross for his 13th try of the campaign.
From the restart, Lansdowne immediately struck again; full back and captain Eamonn Mills, who had an excellent match, ran the ball from his own ’22. He was supported by centres Harry Brennan and Tom Roche, who fed the rampaging Sullivan on his outside. The winger still had plenty to do, but he used his fierce hand-off to flatten two defenders and complete his surge to the line.
Deasy again added the extras and suddenly the match had been turned on its head in the space of three minutes as Lansdowne moved from 14-9 down on 39 minutes to 23-14 ahead at the break.
Both sides were temporarily reduced in numbers by referee Patton as a row broke out between the two sides following Sullivan’s second try.
Always a third-quarter team, Lansdowne were quickly into their stride on the resumption, aided by a brilliant reclaim of the restart by right winger Daniel McEvoy. From the subsequent attack first Roche went close, then Mills was bundled into touch just short of the line.
Under pressure, Garryowen coughed up the throw to the excellent Jack Dwan and Ian Prendiville, having burst his try duck this season (he just can’t stop scoring tries ever since) powered over for yet another after only 3 minutes play. Scottie again converted, and the home side were ahead by 30 points to 14.
Less than 5 minutes later it was the turn of Prendo’s fellow-prop, Martin Mulhall – who improves by the match – to power over for the bonus-point try and 35-14.
Lansdowne were by now playing some stunning rugby, with the game well-won and any inhibitions well and truly shaken off. Scrum half Tim Murphy, who sparkled at every turn, orchestrated a back-line that threatened every time it got the ball.
Garryowen were game for the contest, and in consequence the enterprise and entertainment levels were quite superb. They took advantage of a rare scrum penalty against the home side to once again bring their rolling maul into play. Lansdowne dragged down the maul and the ref had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try – 35-21 on 56 minutes.
Lansdowne again rebounded, this time flanker Aaron Conneely crossing in the corner for Scott Deasy to plant the convert from the extreme edge of the pitch across the wind – what a kick! 42-21.
Not to be outdone, Garryowen again set up field position from a penalty line-out for useful tight head Luke Ashmore to cross for an unconverted try on 65 minutes – 42-26.
A yellow card apiece followed for Lansdowne 2nd rower David O’Connor and Garryowen flanker Tim Ferguson. The reduced numbers saw more room to move and Lansdowne struck with great effect. Playing a penalty advantage, Corkonian Deasy floated a great cross-field kick which was competed for in the air by no less than four players.
The winner was Lansdowne’s captain, Eamonn Mills, who displayed his own Cork footballing skills with a high field that Jimmy Barry Murphy would have been proud of. He twisted and grounded the ball in the in-goal area – a magnificent display of aerial skills by two Corkmen in tune with each other’s games – 47-26.
There was still time for left winger Daniel McEvoy to capitalise on a great move set up by replacement out half Conor “Doc” Murphy with a great take-out pass. The break was carried on by Sullivan, who set up McEvoy for his well-deserved effort. Murphy added the coup de gras for an impressive 54-26 win.
The victory sets up a “winner takes all” home match against Clontarf which will decide where the two same sides play the League semi-final. Given Lansdowne’s impressive form in Lansdowne Road, I don’t think the visitors will want to be returning there for the semi-final!
Congratulations to the Seconds on winning the Metro Cup to add to their League title – the first time Lansdowne has done the double at this level since 2010.
Man of the Match: Jack Dwan
Match Report: Michael Daly
Match Details: Ulster Bank AIL Division 1A Round 17: Lansdowne FC v. Garryowen FC
Venue: Aviva Stadium Back Pitch
Date: Saturday 6th of April 2019
Referee: Mark Parron
Score: Lansdowne 54 Garryowen 26
Scorers: Lansdowne: Tries: Peter Sullivan 2, Martin Mulhall, Ian Prendiville, Aaron Conneely, Daniel McEvoy, Eamonn Mills; Cons: Scott Deasy 4, Conor Murphy; Pens: Scott Deasy 3
Garryowen: Tries: Cian O’Shea, David McCarthy, Luke Ashmore, Penalty try; Cons: Jamie Heuston 2, Pen try con
HT: Lansdowne 23 Garryowen 14
LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills (capt); Daniel McEvoy, Harry Brennan, Tom Roche, Peter Sullivan; Scott Deasy, Tim Murphy; Martin Mulhall, James Rael, Ian Prendiville, David O’Connor, Jack Dwan, Jack O’Sullivan, Aaron Conneely, Willie Earle.
Replacements: Ntinga Mpiko, Greg McGrath, Willie Fay, James Kenny, Conor Murphy.
GARRYOWEN: Jamie Heuston; Dan Hurley, Andrew O’Byrne, David McCarthy, Cian O’Shea; Jamie Gavin, Rob Guerin; Jack Mullany, Liam Cronin, Luke Ashmore, Kevin Seymour, Dean Moore (capt), Tim Ferguson, Darren Ryan, Alan Fitzgerald.
Replacements: David Canny, Sean Rennison, Michael Sheehan, Evan Maher, Ben Swindlehurst.