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Friday nights lights entertainment this week was brought courtesy of the Leinster U15 School/Youth Division 1 League Playoffs between Lansdowne and Clondalkin RFC.  Coaches Ntinga Mpiko and Mick O’Gara had the boys down early for a rigorous warm up session which unfortuantely saw Scotty Galvin turn a knee badly and make for the sideline to be attended to by the first aiders.  The session had the boys fired up and gunning for action.

It didn’t take long for for Lansdowne to open up the scoring with a beautiful try by within 4 minutes by Leinster Shane Horgan Cup selection, David Donohue but unfortunately the converion went wide.  Clondalkn to their credit hit right back and by half time they were three tries to one up, one of which was an end to end try after a ball had been ripped from Lansdowne on the Clondalkin 5 Metre line.  However despite their points advantage the referee was consistenly in the opposition  ear about fouling and that was reflected in the penalty count.  At one point the Ref drove Clondalkin about 20 meters from the Lansdowne 22 for backchat whilst at the same time warning their scrumhalf that he would get some downtime if it continued.

Try number 2

That said, the battle continued apace and for the spectators, it turned into a superb match.  Lansdowne never gave up.  Ntinga, like an expectant father was shouting the boys on from the far end.  He almost appeared like  a Mike Ruddock figure from the Lansdowne posts and he wasn’t let down.  Fabulous carries by Oisin Bohan whose perserverance amongst a much bigger opposition can only be credited.  In fullback Francis Manzocchi was ever present and bravely defended the Lansdowne lines time and time again was completely disruptive to the Clondalkin attempts to carry over.

Second half tries by Nick Power Smith and Captain, Jack Nolan converted by Luke McCarroll and Seamus Murphy Cruse brought it back to 19-19 with about 10 minutes to go.  Consistent go-forward pressure brought play to within 2 meters of the Clondalkin try line with a fabulous carry by David Donohue almost had Lansdowne score in the corner  Yet again however, Clondalkin were penalised and the ref brought play back for a penalty in front of the posts which saw David Donohue suffer a leg injury.  Cleverly the boys knew it was all about the points and Seamus Murphy Cruse easily slotted the penalty over the posts to give us a 3 point margin 22-19.  Just after this period we lost Richard Tobin to the sideline through injury also and he had to be restrained from re-entering the fray!

Attacking opportunity which had Jack Nolan cross for a Try

 

You’d like to think they’d done enough and had it in the bag but alas for Lansdowne, Lady Luck had Clondalkin score a final unconverted try in the corner to seal their fate in this years playoffs. FT score Lansdowne 22 Clondalkin 24. 

It is a fitting tribute to this side that the opposition coach came into the Lansdowne huddle after the final whistle and complimented the team on the way they conducted themselves and the way they played that match.  He said it was the best youths match he had seen in many a year.  Well done all, you can be proud of this one. 

Our thanks also to all the members of the squad who are off injured or ineligble to play but yet came down on the night to scream on their support or help in any way they could.   Charlie Wall acted as bag man for the night, screaming his encouragment onto the pitch.   Thomas O’Brien was on crutches and insisted on being part of the action by keeping the lads hydrated.  Paolo Motta in a leg brace was doing as many yards up and down the side of the pitch following the play. 

Boys with the hearts of Lions.

Tries: David Donohue (1) Nick Power Smith (1) Jack Nolan (1).

Conv: Luke McCarroll (1) Seamus Murphy Cruse (1)

Pen: Seamus Murphy Cruse (1)

Man of the Match: All 18 LFC boys

 

Ntinga, cutting a Mike Ruddock pose , like an expactant father, willing his charges onwards

The boys proudly huddle after the match

 

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