The Leinster Under-20 team, sponsored by SWORD Security, cut loose to register six second-half tries in their 48-6 demolition of Connacht in Friday night’s opening game of the interprovincial series in Donnybrook…
It was the stereotypical game of two halves. Leinster fly-half Ross Byrne started out by pulling an early penalty slightly left, but made amends in the fifth minute from 35 metres when Connacht did not roll away at the ruck.
The Westerners were sparked by scrum-half Caolin Blade’s snipe and grubber down the blindside followed by his blockdown on Cian Kelleher. They applied enough pressure for their ten Sean O’Hagan to draw them level in the 12th minute.
Connacht centre Andrew McAleer was binned for an illegal tackle on number eight Peader Timmins and centre Gary Ringrose struck from distance to make it 6-3 to the home side in the 20th minute.
It was quickly wiped out by O’Hagan’s second penalty from the left. Leinster seemed to have the gas on the outside with full-back Billy Dardis looking sharp on his feet, almost creating something out of nothing for wing Ian Fitzpatrick.
It was Dardis who eventually triggered the first try, stepping inside the defence and accelerating away. He was caught by flanker Rory Moloney. But, the burst had been made and Timmins had the legs to score from 50 metres to make it 11-6 in the 38th minute.
The rhythm was coming into Leinster’s patterns. Adam Byrne tested Ben Carty on the outside. Ringrose made it a two-score game from a penalty in the 46th minute and added another three in the 50th minute.
The issue was put beyond doubt when Ringrose countered for scrum-half Nick McCarthy to put wing Kelleher into space for Ringrose to convert in the 58th minute.
Centre Byrne made a straight burst which created the opportunity to move it quickly for left wing Ian Fitzpatrick to finish well in the left corner and Ringrose again found the posts.
It wasn’t long before Byrne was making his way to the whitewash. Timmins followed from a quick tap penalty and Fitzpatrick concluded the rout on the left for replacement Conor McKeon to shoot his second conversion.
15: Billy Dardis (UCD)
14: Cian Kelleher (Lansdowne)
13: Adam Byrne (UCD) / Stephen O’Neill (Terenure College) 69 mins
12: Gary Ringrose (Blackrock College)
11: Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne)
10: Ross Byrne (UCD) / Conor McKeon (Lansdowne) 66 mins
9: Nick McCarthy (St Michael’s College) / Charlie Rock (Old Belvedere) 63 mins
1: Ivan Soroka (Belvedere College) / Denis Coulson (Lansdowne) 63 mins
2: Dylan Donnellan (UCD) / Shane Delahunt (Lansdowne) 47 mins
3: Oisin Heffernan (Lansdowne) / Craig Trenier (Terenure College) 63 mins
4: Ross Molony (UCD) CAPTAIN
5: Stephen Gardiner (Lansdowne)
6: Josh Murphy (UCD)
7: Michael Triggs (Lansdowne) / Stephen Keelan (Clongowes Wood) 47 mins
8: Peader Timmins (UCD) / Sean Coughlan (Blackrock College) 69 mins
CONNACHT UNDER-20: Eoghan O’Reilly; Matthew Mellotte, Rory Parata, Andrew McAleer, Mark O’Keefe; Sean O’Hagan; Caolin Blade; Jacob Walshe, Scott Flanagan, Saba Meunargia, Josh O’Rourke, Sean O’Brien CAPTAIN, Sam McCormack, Rory Moloney, Jack Dineen
REPLACEMENTS: Ben Carty for McAleer 39 mins; Andrew Barr for Meunargia, Eddie Earle for Parata both 47 mins; Shane Boyle for O’Keefe 66 mins; Conor Kerins for Mellotte 69 mins; Dan McArdle for Walshe 70 mins.