Irish Rugby Football Union
Lansdowne Move Ahead of the Pack In Division 1A
March 7, 2013Lansdowne Football Club
Lansdowne FC 34
By Tom Rooney
Lansdowne’s bonus point victory over Garryowen on the Aviva Stadium back pitch yesterday has put them 10 points clear of nearest rivals, Young Munster, at the top of the Ulster Bank League Division 1A.
In an efficient, if unspectacular performance, Mike Ruddock’s team never got out of second gear, and were forced to defend for long periods by a game Garryowen . Yet, they still managed five tries, all the while strangling the life out of Garryowen with a behemoth, muscular defensive effort. Lansdowne have the grisly look of a championship team, and mathematical anomalies notwithstanding, it should prove a self-fulfilling prophecy.
For Garryowen, this will be a bitter pill to swallow; they enjoyed huge amounts of possession, particularly in the opening quarter, and although they crossed the whitewash three times, their lack of cutting edge is what cost them the game. When unable to go through the hosts they looked largely devoid of ideas, and had Matt Jarvis opted for more territorial kicking in behind the high Lansdowne defensive line, they may have avoided such an energy sapping arm wrestle.
Captain Ross McCarron put Lansdowne ahead in the third minute, going over in the corner after the pack had made headway into the twenty-two on the back of a solid scrum. Garryowen’s response was immediate. A Craig Ronaldson re-start went out on the full, and off the ensuing scrum centre Hircock looped around the blindside into the twenty- two, after some neat interplay prop JP Cooney rumbled over. Matt Jarvis added the points.
Garryowen came in waves for a solid fifteen minutes; Lansdowne simply couldn’t settle and were positively rattled. However, Garryowen went aimlessly from touchline to touchline much of the time and got little return when attacking around the fringes. This slowed Garryowen, and Lansdowne began to get a foothold. Ron Boucher and Charlie Butterworth carried well, punching holes and inturn taking the sting out of Garryowen.
Cian Aherne’s try-the first of a brace- was a manifestation of this pressure. Lansdowne had mauled over the Garryowen line after Tom Sexton hit Butterworth in the middle of the line-out, and George Clancy awarded a five metre scrum. Lansdowne got a good shove on, John Cooney did not stand on ceremony and Aherne went over in the corner. Ronaldson sent over the conversion.
After missing a penalty on the half hour mark, Matt Jarvis made up for it with a wonderful piece of running which lead to Cian O’Shea’s try. The Connacht man sliced through a rare gap in the Lansdowne bulwark before his deft pass found O’Shea, who touched down in the corner. The half finished 15-15 after Craig Ronaldson landed a penalty in the final minute.
Lansdowne started the second half, much like the first-with a try. Ronaldson kicked for the corner with a penalty won off a lineout, Tom Sexton went to Tadgh Beirne at the front, and a rampant maul followed. John Cooney almost sniped over first, but it was Mark Roche who made the telling breach.
Lansdowne then dragged Garryowen into a war of attrition, and simply wore them out. Cian
Lock Aaron McCloskey scored a try for Garryowen in the final play of the game, a just reward for their bravery.