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Leinster Senior League Cup

16th September 2023

Lansdowne FC 40 – 15 UCD RFC

 

It’s always great to play against UCD, with the promise of open, flowing and exciting rugby. It’s particularly rewarding when most of the open, flowing and exciting rugby is being played by us!  Lansdowne were on song on Saturday against an admittedly young and raw “Collidge” side, but credit where it’s due, Declan Fassbender and his management team have our boys playing a lovely brand of rugby and playing it very well.

The opening ten minutes went at a rapid pace, as you’d expect, with possession bouncing back and forward between both teams. Lansdowne seemed to have the edge, so it seemed slightly against the run of play when we conceded a penalty within kicking distance and UCD scrum half did the honours to put them ahead 0- 3.

As if stung by this insult, Lansdowne’s revenge started straight from Stephen “Mads” Madigan’s excellently lofted restarted, caught equally well by prop Sean Dunne (I know, a prop catching a ball – mad isn’t it?). The rucks and phases that followed had an efficient urgency about them that would characterise a lot of the home side’s performance on the day, and it wasn’t long before forwards were taking turns to attack the Collidge line, with new arrival number 8 Hardus (“Harry”) Van Eaden eventually taking the try.  Mads added the extras and order was restored: 7 – 3 within two minutes of the offending UCD penalty.

Another period of excellent rugby followed, “Real Leinster League stuff” as one Collidge supporter put it appreciatively.  Possession and advantage ebbed and flowed, each side mixing endeavour and enterprise, unconcerned apparently by the risk of losing possession, knowing they could retrieve it soon.  But though we had our share of young players too, Lansdowne looked the more seasoned and battle-ready side.

Stephen Madigan orchestrated matters from start to finish and the home side’s next points, started and finished with him. He took the ball from our lineout just inside the visitors’ half and kicked it deftly inside their 10-meter line, then dropped back to cover the return kick, which duly arrived. Instead of continuing the tennis match, he caught the students off guard with a half break and set up a ruck where the visitors were penalized. Mads placed it in the corner for our touch, and when the maul that followed drifted into the middle of the pitch, creating a gap on the blindside, wing-forward George Kenny saw the emerging opportunity and burst through for his first try of the day.  12 – 3.

More champagne rugby flowed from both sides, but again Lansdowne looked in control, with Madigan the masterful Maitre D throughout.  The ball came out of a ruck inside the students’ half and he delayed his pass slightly, taking the hit in order to unleash that electric full back Cathal Eddy, who sprinted 20 meters well into their danger zone. The last pass went to ground, but backwards, so when the ball was quickly recycled, hooker Tom Barry came charging through the gap created and scored under the posts. Madigan converted and it was 19 – 3 on the half hour mark.

But Collidge didn’t come to just make up the numbers and they worked their way back into our half with phase after phase of inventive play, their athletic second row finishing off a sustained attack just on the break.  19 – 10 at the half time break with more champagne in store in round two.

Lansdowne started the second half with renewed energy and soon we were in their 22 again, recycling the ball like men possessed.  Inside their 10 meter line, the ball came out to centre Andy Marks who took a big hit but made the ball available for Cillian Redmond, and “Captain Cill” went over for the try, jinking his way infield to make Mad’s conversion easier. 26 – 10.

There followed an uncharacteristic period of loose discipline from Lansdowne (including a yellow card against us) and Collidge took full advantage, going over for a try in the corner. 26 – 15 and they were still in the game.  But after this brief lapse, Lansdowne reasserted control and it was replacement second row Luke O’Connor that effectively put the game out of UCD’s reach with a well taken forward’s try, as the game entered the last ten minutes.  33 – 15.

Now, for the last ten minutes and in time honoured Collidge tradition, they tried everything: lock, stock and barrel, the kitchen sink, kit and kaboodle.  Fair play, they never let up.  But in their gallant efforts to make one last mark on the scoreboard, the students inevitably left gaps. And if there’s one thing an opposition doesn’t want to leave in front of flanker George Kenny, it’s a gap. He’ll seize it and punish you cruelly for leaving it lying around. And so he did. Inside our half and enjoying a series of good phases, the Collidge pack cleared over a ruck so quickly that the ball seemed to bounce up into George’s grateful grasp and with a cheery “adios” he bolted the half of the pitch to drive the last nail into the Collidge coffin.  Mads converted his touch down under the post and the final whistle went … 40 – 15.

Another great win for Lansdowne and carried off again with refreshing style. Next week’s final against Terenure will be a very different opposition. Let’s hope, with the club’s full support, Fassie’s boys can keep this winning run – and style – going and win the first silverware of the season!

Leinster League Cup Final, Saturday, September 23, Donnybrook, KO 3.00pm

 

Team Sheet (sponsored by Robert “Not a Smoker” Browne)

  1. George Morris
  2. Tom Barry
  3. Sean Dunne
  4. Jack Hamel Cook
  5. Ruari Clarke
  6. Clive Ross
  7. George Kenny
  8. Hardus Van Eaden
  9. James Kenny
  10. Stephen Madigan
  11. Sean Galvin
  12. Rory Parata
  13. Andy Marks
  14. Cillian Redmond (C)
  15. Cathal Eddy
  16. Henry Godson
  17. Adam Deay
  18. Luke O’Connor
  19. Barry Fitzpatrick
  20. Jack Matthews
  21. Rory Madigan
  22. Hugo McLaughlin

 

Match Report – Brian Whelan

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