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22/10/2023

Lansdowne v Dublin University J1

Metro League Division 1

22 – 25 

 

Two losses in a week for the J1 team has dented the record to otherwise what has been a faultless start to the season before that. This is the way things have worked out with back-to-back away losses firstly to Old Belvedere a match for which the writer was absent on Monday evening the 16th of October by 12-10 in Ollie Campbell Park in what was a close game where some late chances were spurned by this Lansdowne outfit which could have yielded victory.

However, they could not dwell on that and moved on to a tricky away fixture in College Park against Dublin University on a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon. The game began with a bright start from the home team who led by 3-0 following an early penalty goal after 10 minutes which was cancelled by a reply from a Tom Gavigan penalty to make the score 3=3.

The J1 outfit had a lot of good possessions but failed to use that to their advantage from promising positions. In fact, an early symptom of their play the set piece that is the line out malfunctioned badly at the start of the game with a number of overthrows giving easy possession back to Trinity who used it to good effect and were always very combative and attacking in their approach towards the game. After 20 minutes they scored the first try following some fine forward play from their pack leaving their hooker to touchdown with the extras added making the score 10-3.

Back came the J1’s with their own riposte and after a fine midfield break from centre Matt Grogan he managed to evade the would be tacklers and rounded the Trinity full back to score a fine try near the right hand post with the extras converted by Gavigan to make the scoreline 10 – 10 after 26 minutes.

From the restart, Lansdowne went back on the offensive and gained good field position within the Trinity half. There were a number of scrums which yielded go forward possession with good showings from Teddy Boland and Sean Dunne allowing Henry Godson to score a try from close in which again was converted by Gavigan pushing the scoreline in the J1 ‘s favor for the first time meaning that they led by 17 – 10.

With just a few minutes to half time the management were calling for the team to keep it tight and make no mistakes. But as so often happens a team after they have scored they are at their most vulnerable and this proved to be the case. In fairness to Trinity following a fine restart they managed to gather possession and went on the offensive and some very good forward play and attacks from side to side meant that they broke through with a fine try out on the left which was expertly converted meaning that at half time the scoreline was level at 17 points each

Lansdowne knew they were in a tight game and I suppose the real question was who wanted it more. It was the home side with the second-half starting with Trinity gaining the upper hand despite having a scrum which was going backwards they went on the offensive and continuously attacked with the elements in the form of a light breeze in their favor.

However, there was no breakthrough and a deadlock prevailed for much of the opening 25 minutes of the second-half until finally Trinity with persistent attacking play managed to breakthrough and score out on the right hand side making the score line 22 – 17 with approximately 15 minutes to play.

From the restart a long kick from Trinity meant much ground gained and then after a mistake by the forwards possession was turned over and the home side further improved their field position deep into the Lansdowne 22. There followed a yellow card infringement following a slap down of a pass which was deemed deliberate meaning that the referee awarded Trinity a penalty which was converted by their number 10 pushing the scoreline out to 25 – 17 with approximately 8 minutes to play. Now a two score game meant it was an uphill battle.

To their credit the J1’s started to play with urgency and one wondered where this had been all game. They are known for never giving up in a game and fought back against strongly despite time diminishing away and managed to score a try their third of the game thanks to Matt Hodgkins out on the left hand corner with the conversion being missed leaving the score line at 25 – 22. There were now a couple of minutes to play and from the restart they once again tried very hard to gain field position but in fairness to Trinity who had produced a fine team performance throughout the afternoon they held on for a well-deserved win.

Lansdowne were only able to take away a bonus point loss from the afternoon in what for them was a disappointing end to the game but on balance one would have to say that Trinity deserved to win on the day and it was a rather flat performance from the J1’s with improvement and more urgency needed.

The nature of this Premier one league this year means that a lot of the teams are beating each other and as results went this result has left the J1’s in third place in the table behind Clontarf and leaders Old Wesley but there is not much between the top six teams in this division and it is all to play for as the season continues. There is no doubting the J1’s commitment and will to win but the last two performances have been short of what is required and improvement is needed to remain competitive in this tough league with five games played.

There is now a break for one week over the Halloween period. This team will come back to action with a home tie against leaders Old Wesley at the start of November in HQ and this will likely be a crucial feature in the battle for the top spot in this division. In summary, a difficult week for the J1’s  which they need to bounce back from and the coaching staff are fully aware of this as are the players and no doubt they will.

 

Match Report – John Kilroy

 

1 Seán Dunne
2 Henry Godson
3 Adam Boland
4 Sean Walsh
5 Steven Walshe
6 Stephen Callinan
7 Robert Kidney
8 Lúc Culliton
9 Cian Moloney
10 Tom Gavigan
11 Matthew Hodgins
12 Tom Monaghan
13 Matthew Grogan
14 Oisin Devitt
16 Evan Downey
15 Rohan van den Akker
17 Charlie McSweeney
18 Aidan Long
19 Brian Barron
20 Eadbhard O’Callaghan

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