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27/11/2022

Metro League – Division 1

Lansdowne J1’s v Old Wesley

 

A hard-fought ground out victory could best be used in describing this match as Lansdowne J1’s got back to their winning ways, and in so doing avenged their opening loss to Old Wesley in the reverse fixture at the start of the season.

The game began with the home side opening the scoring through two penalty goals from Stephen Madigan who, for the writer, was the clear man of the match. His all-round play was exceptional; special mention for his kicking, which from hand or off the ground was of a very high standard. He shows great leadership qualities for a young man, as well as bravery in the tackle and a high level of skill to match.

With the 6-0 lead the home side pressed and in broken play, centre Matt Grogan gathered the ball and with a mazy run broke through to touchdown with the extras added by Madigan leaving the score line at 13 – 0. This remained the score to half time with both teams having their moments in the interim.

The second half began like the first, with Madigan slotting a further penalty goal to stretch the lead for the home side to 16-0. However, Old Wesley upped their performance level after that and probed away at a resolute home defence with Luke Thompson, Ruari Clarke and Michael O’Brien all making telling contributions at that point, and by and large throughout the duration of the game.

It was from one of these forays that Old Wesley responded with a try of their own which was converted leaving the score line at 16 – 7. Taking confidence from that, they continued to compete and began to have some good spells of possession. It was from one of these after the ball passing through hands, that allowed their right winger score near the touchline. A beautiful conversion narrowed the score line further to 16 – 14; their tails were very much up at this stage.

The J1’s needed a response and some hard hits followed. From open play Wesley almost broke through again, only for their centre to knock the ball on when clear space was in front of him. From that mistake Madigan put Lansdowne back in good field position. Later, after several phases of play, it was truly fitting that Madigan, after forward pressure, would receive the ball close to the Old Wesley line, he showed great physical strength to reach out and score an important try calming the J1’s nerves. The conversion followed which stretched the lead to 23 – 14 to the home side.

There followed good game management and Lansdowne limited Old Wesley’s best efforts running down the clock. It must also be said at this juncture that credit must go to the Lansdowne lineout which worked very well throughout the afternoon, and for the coaching staff showed the work that has been put into this area on the training field. The clock was further run down by the home side and victory was achieved in a hard fought well contested game.

There remained one further penalty from Old Wesley which in effect was the last kick of the game leaving the final score line at 23 – 17, moving the J1’s to clear second in metro league Division 1 – two points behind the leaders Terenure.

This game began the second half of the season in terms of fixtures. In summary for the writer given the team selection available for this week, this was a good and satisfactory win for the home side which was very much needed to maintain league position.

Also, it is very important in this Division to triumph in this type of fixture if the side is to have true aspirations to win the League. There remains one further fixture for this team an away outing in UCD next Saturday, their last fixture for 2022 before the Christmas break and one they certainly hope will provide another victory allowing them to cement their position in the league. Final side note is to wish happy birthday to Ronan Shaw who turns 21. He’s been a regular with this team throughout the season so far. That’s all for now.

 

Match Report – John Kilroy

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