Lansdowne U12s hosted Shannon on a sunny Saturday in HQ as a pre –showpiece before the 1st XV Lansdowne vs Shannon AIL match.
We had a bare bones team due to the Mid-term break and GAA Grading Matches throughout Dublin, and had to call up U11s stalwarts Sean Rooney & Mathis Padioleau, a huge step up for the boys to play U12s, especially against a solid Shannon outfit who fielded two teams.
From the kick off, Lansdowne showed their intent with a well collected ball by Myles Berman who made 20 metres through the Shannon defence, our forwards drove over and protected the ruck ball, allowing Cathal Troy quick ball. The intensity of both packs was noted by many of the spectators and the pace was frantic. The larger Shannon pack provided a stiff test at scrums but the Lansdowne Front row of Senean Walsh, Etienne Doreau and Evan Hayes held firm as each scrum was hotly contested , with each pack binding hard and driving to get the ball.
Pin point cross field kicks by Teddy Corrigan to the wings, and sharp passing to strike runner Fintan Lydon kept Lansdowne on the front foot and proved hard for Shannon to handle, Lansdowne continued to get quick ball out to the backs and speedy winger Zachy Bouchery made constant breaks up the wing, pushing the Shannon defence to the limit.
Both Teams counter rucked hard and every ball was fought over tooth and nail. Tempers flared off the ball and one Lansdowne player and a Shannon player were sent to the sin bin to cool down after a punch up , a minor blip in a well -played, disciplined game.
Ferocious tackling by Andrew McGauran who was relentless, shut down any meaningful Shannon counter attack, while JJ Hamilton and Josh Byrne roamed the fringes of the breakdown grabbing loose ball and making constant gains by ‘pick and go’. Our U11s (Sean Rooney & Mathis Padioleau) got stuck in to the rucks , tackled hard and ran great support lines, growing in confidence and stature as the morning progressed.
Shannon were no push overs, and had darting runners and powerful forwards, and scored off a nice counter ruck catching Lansdowne on the fringe; the match continued back and forth and the handling and passing on both sides was first rate, Lansdowne dug deep and managed to pip Shannon for the well fought win.
Final score: Lansdowne 4 Trys to Shannon 3.
The 2nd Game continued with the same intensity, both teams going hammer and tongs, Lansdowne forwards breaking the gain line and protective the ball, Brian Hughes and Tadgh Noone were notable in their ruck defence and again our backs Myles Berman and Fintan Lydon ran riot through the Shannon defence and Andrew McGauran supporting and as always hunting down any Shannon player that attempted to break our lines.
Excellent control under pressure from Scrum half Cathal Troy and Teddy Corrigan marshalled the boys into a sold attack, as Lansdowne kept the pressure and focus, going through six phases of possession to score a lovely team try.
Lansdowne’s fitness prevailed and constant hard hits and fast running allowed Lansdowne to “turn the screw” and the boys turned up the intensity to run away in the last half, scoring 3 unanswered Tries, sealing a memorable double win over a seriously strong Shannon side.
Final score: Lansdowne 6 Trys to Shannon’s 3
Afterwards all the boys, Coaches and parents ( including Coolmine RFC) retired to the Clubhouse where the boys had sandwiches & Miwadi ( Thanks Elayne & David !) and chatted about all things rugby & Fortnite! There was great banter and buzz in the club house and the U12s definitely set the marker and tone for our Senior 1st XV who secured a hard fought bonus point win to seal the treble over Shannon by Lansdowne