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Lansdowne FC v Terenure College RFC

Energia AIL Division 1 A

Saturday 17th February 2024

Lansdowne Road

Lansdowne 20 – 27 Terenure

Conditions were ideal for open rugby on the back pitch at Lansdowne Road on Saturday, but that was never likely to be on the menu given the compact style of the current champions, Terenure College.  Apart from the well taken penalty by out half Stephen Madigan after three minutes that gave us the lead, we spent the bulk of the first half inside our own 22 defending like a she-wolf would her cubs.  We withstood wave after wave of short running crash balls and if a few of the visitors’ inside passes had gone to hand, we might have conceded sooner.  But it wasn’t until the half hour mark when we were down a man to the sin bin, that an unfortunate missed touch was pounced on by Terenure and they scored from the counterattack that followed.  They soon added to the score with a penalty to stretch their lead to 3 – 10.  Still under relentless pressure, Lansdowne managed to edge their way up the pitch as the half drew to a close. Wing forward Barry Fitzpatrick (who was excellent all day) won a turnover battle giving us a penalty on the halfway line.  Stephen took every last inch out of the kick to get us a touch on the 10-metre line and even the might of Terenure’s pack couldn’t resist the well executed maul that followed, sub, Donough Lawlor getting the touchdown.  Mads topped off his contribution with an important conversion. 10 – 10.

If it had stayed ten points apiece in injury time of the first half it would have been an amazing performance, considering the pressure we had sustained.  But the champions had different ideas. From a scrum just inside our half, they seemed to draw most of our defenders one way, leaving a mismatch on the blindside with their winger versus our prop Temi Lasisi.  Now Temi had an excellent game throughout, out scrumming his opposite number and rucking like a man possessed, but he’ll be the first to admit he’ll rarely come out on top of a foot race with a winger!  They converted the try and went into the half time break 10 -17 down.

The tempo of the competition didn’t let up when play resumed. Terenure extended their lead with a penalty after a few minutes, but the tight grip they had exerted in the first half relaxed just a little and the looser, more open aspect suited us better.  At 10 – 20 and with the club captain Cillian Redmond taking the pitch, we seemed to find some of our mojo again. Now the possession was more ours than theirs and we were also winning more of the contests in the ruck. One contest led to a penalty which Stephen placed in the corner, but the short lineout that followed went to ground and one opportunity went abegging. Undaunted, we resumed the arm wrestle for possession and before too long we found ourselves back on their 10 metre line with another touch. Nothing too fancy about the lineout maul this time as Ruairi Clarke went over for our second in the corner. As we entered the last quarter of the game, the gap was narrowed to 15 – 20 and of the two teams, we looked like the one finishing faster. Now it was the visitors who were locked down in their own 22 and we were doing all the attacking.  Even when the ball strayed back inside our half, Stephen Madigan kicked an inch-perfect ball to their corner, securing the throw on the 50/22 rule.  Things looked very promising from the lineout and we were in control of the phases that followed, pounding their defences on their 10 metre line. Then something went horribly wrong.  The ball came out to the blindside and somehow it ended up on the end of a powerful Terenure boot, rather than in the welcoming arms of whichever Lansdowne man was standing on the wing.  However the ball came into the possession of the Terenure man in the first place may have been a subject of some discussion on the sidelines and in the bar later, but he deserves full credit for his follow up kicks which saw the ball go from just inside their 10 metre line to over our score line, where he touched down under the posts. 15 – 27

A lesser group might have dropped their heads when all their work came to nothing and the visitors’ lead stretched to a two score margin, but these lads are made of sterner stuff.  Yet again they resumed their attack and yet again, we fought their way back to the Terenure red zone and another lineout. Hooker Tom Barry and jumper Jack Cooke worked their magic yet again and Donough Lawlor went over for our third try in the corner. With three minutes plus injury time to play, the score stood at 20 – 27 and we resumed the offence yet again. There’s no doubt we don’t want for fitness or determination, but Terenure aren’t short of stamina or guile either and though we attacked with everything we had for the last seven or eight minutes,  they contained whatever we had to offer effectively and ran down the clock to the final whistle.

FT 20 – 27

The fourth official (and Lansdowne Legend) summed it up best when he said:

“I thought Lansdowne were fantastic in the last 25 [minutes] and we were most unfortunate to concede the breakaway try that cost us the match. With a small bit of luck that [attack] would have been a try to us and a win.  Plenty to play for still.”  – Paul Clinch OBE

 

LANSDOWNE 20 TERENURE COLLEGE 27, Aviva Stadium back pitch
Scorers: Lansdowne: Tries: Donough Lawlor 2, Tom Ruairi Clarke; Con: Stephen Madigan; Pen: Stephen Madigan
Terenure College: Tries: Conor Phillips, Luke Clohessy, Craig Adams; Cons: Aran Egan 3; Pens: Aran Egan 2
HT: Lansdowne 10 Terenure College 17

LANSDOWNE: Cathal Eddy; Peter Sullivan, Andy Marks, Rory Parata, Sean Galvin; Stephen Madigan, James Kenny; Greg McGrath, Tom Barry, Temi Lasisi, Jack Cooke (capt), Ruairi Clarke, Clive Ross, Barry Fitzpatrick, Hardus van Eeden.
Replacements: Luke Thompson, George Morris, Steve Walshe, Donough Lawlor, Jack Matthews, Cillian Redmond.

TERENURE COLLEGE: Adam La Grue; Conor Phillips, Colm de Buitléar, Peter Sylvester, Craig Adams; Aran Egan, Alan Bennie; Campbell Classon, Levi Vaughan, Adam Tuite, Harrison Brewer (capt), Matthew Caffrey, Adam Melia, Luke Clohessy, Jordan Coghlan.
Replacements: Tom Stewart, Conan O’Donnell, Tom Coghlan, Max Russell, George Morgan, Sam Dardis.

Lansdowne 1st XV v Terenure AIL Saturday 17th February 2024

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