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What a game! Lansdowne U17s claimed the Leinster Premier League with a hard fought and hotly contested game over Ballygriggan Barbarians.

The weather on the day was decidedly cold and the wind was blowing a near gale from left to right down the middle of the pitch at Coolmine RFC, the neutral venue for the final.

Balbriggan won the toss and elected to play with the wind. Lansdowne knew that a strong start was essential to counteract the advantage Balbriggan had with the wind. The ball changed hands three times in the first 4 minutes before Lansdowne produced a fine network of passes to see Geoff Lockhart go over for the first try of the game. The conversion from near the touchline was an impossible proposition for Ben Lockhart and he watched the wind push his attempt to the front of the posts.

Next, Balbriggan took all 3 points for an offside and the ball cleared the netting behind the posts such was the strength of the wind. 5-3 to Lansdowne.

In the 16th minute Balbriggan were rewarded for some fine forward interplay and they easily converted to take a 10-3 lead.

Lansdowne stuck to their game plan and coaches Prendiville and Goulding will have been happy that the team kept its shape and composure and went through the phases for JJ Hession to touch down in the 21st minute. Again, Lockhart had the impossible task of converting from out wide and the score stood at 10 a piece.

This game was about seizing opportunities and an offside infringement in the 27th minute gave Balbriggan the opportunity to put 3 points on the board. Balbriggan took the lead 13-10.

The next 8 minutes saw both teams cough up possession and despite end to end play, no try ensued. However, just on the stroke of halftime JJ Hession was again presented with the opportunity to gather a quick pass and touch down. JJ was close enough to the posts to give Lockhart a much easier conversion opportunity. Lockhart duly converted and Lansdowne went into the halftime break 17-13 the better.

The wind advantage in the second half took some getting used to. Lockhart kicked a drop off out on the full and Balbriggan were on the front foot with a scrum in the middle of the pitch. Balbriggan were unable to take advantage and both teams arm wrestled over the ball for the next 8 minutes until Lansdowne pressure forced Balbriggan to cough up a penalty and another one on the 12t minute, both which were converted by Lockhart. Lansdowne led 23-13 and were in a good position.

Balbriggan had ideas of their own and duly were rewarded for their efforts on the 18th minute with a try. The wind that proved so difficult for Lansdowne in the fisthalf was to prove as difficult an adversary for the Balbriggan kicker. The gap was closed but Lansdowne still led 23-18.

Then we entered a really nervous period when a score for either team would more than likely cast a deciding vote on where the premier league title would end up.

The Lansdowne squad duly delivered in the 30th minute. After a flurry of phases the pack released the ball via Hale who fed Lacey and Browe, who in turn slipped the ball to Geoff Larkin and Larkin powered over. Lockhart stroked the ball over from inside the touchline and facing into the last 4 minutes, Lansdowne were up 30-18.

Balbriggan didn’t give up the chase and in the final minute were rewarded with a try. Taking a quick conversion to try and restart the game proved in vain as the referee blew the final whistle.

Thank to you Balbriggan Barbarians for a competitive and entertaining game. Thank you also to John McCourt and his colleagues at the Leinster Branch for all their work during the season. Thank you to the referee and his officials on the day. Finally, thank you to Coolmine RFC for allowing the game to be played on their main pitch.


  1. Harry O’Connell
  2. William Dineen
  3. Matthew O’Farrell
  4. Canaan Ryan-Dalton
  5. Michael Whelan
  6. Oscar O’Brien (c)
  7. Dylan Ryan
  8. JJ Hession
  9. David Hale
  10. Eaun Lacey
  11. Jack Fitzpatrick
  12. Jack Browne
  13. Geoff Larkin
  14. Mark McGrane
  15. Ben Lockhart

Some images from the game

[supsystic-gallery id=’90’]

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