Lansdowne claim Leinster Senior Cup in a thriller
September 25, 2023 12:22 pm Des Berry
Lansdowne 45 Terenure College 44 – after extra-time.
It took extra-time for Lansdowne to finally subdue Terenure in a terrific Bank of Ireland Leinster Senior Cup final at Energia Park on Saturday afternoon.
This was a bona-fide gold label advertisement for Leinster Rugby in a back-and-forth encounter that produced a dozen tries.
In the beginning, a stunning counter-attack started by Cathal Eddy was given punch by Cillian Redmond’s break in behind the line before tight-head Adam Boland appeared on his shoulder to complete the job. Stephen Madigan converted.
The power of Conan O’Donnell at the scrum began to impact the game, winning penalties which Terenure used to pile forward for Conall Bloomer to go close and for Alan Bennie to dive in for 7-5 on 12 minutes.
Eventually, referee Padraic Reidy lost patience with the Lansdowne scrum, binning Boland after a fifth penalty there in just 18 minutes.
From the base of a scrum, ‘Nure activated a simple, well-executed move in which Bennie’s delay of pass opened the way for Calum Smith to make the line, Aran Egan converting in the 24th minute.
The long kicking game of Madigan allowed Lansdowne to come up for air in between Terenure’s drive to extend their lead.
Then, a loose ‘Nure pass when hot on attack tempted Eddy to take a chance in rushing up in defence.
The full-back chipped the ball ahead and collected on the bounce to outstrip the cover from fully 90 metres, Madigan converting for 14-12 in the 35th minute.
Terenure weren’t as generous the next time they came calling, full-back Egan flipping a pass for Stephen O’Neill to sprint over on the right in the 37th minute.
It was left to Madigan to split the posts from a penalty to make it 17-all at the break.
The introduction of former-Ireland U20 out-half Charlie Tector was countered by an immediate scrum penalty to Terenure.
Tector responded with a spectacular 50-22 that enabled Lansdowne to turn the screw on the fringes, scrum-half James Kenny finally dotting down for Tector’s two to make it 24-17 in the 50th minute.
Neat work from Terenure centre Peter Sylvester at first receiver gave Smith an extra split-second to put Colm de Buitlear through a hole for Egan to make it square again going into the fourth quarter.
Terenure opted to forego a near-certain three points in favour of a scrum, their primary weapon all game long.
It led to the binning of Lansdowne centre Rory Parata and number Harry van Eeden within a minute ahead of a penalty try in the 72nd minute.
Down to thirteen, Lansdowne showed resilience in forcing the play for Tom Coghlan to be binned just as Parata and van Eeden returned to the action.
The numbers suddenly favoured Lansdowne and their prop Adam Deay popped up for a vital try which was converted by Tector for an unlikely draw.
Egan had one last chance to steal the lead back, his penalty pushed outside the post to bring about extra-time.
It would come down to superior fitness and willpower. Sustained pressure produced a lead penalty by Egan.More of the same from Terenure forced the issue for centre Sylvester to crash over and for Egan to convert for a 10-point gap at the end of the first 10-minute period.
Lansdowne were not done or dusted. They were awarded a penalty try when Conall Bloomer was binned for compromising a maul.
‘Nure were settled by an Egan penalty only for Tector to find Cillian Redmond with a long pass to leave one point in it.Tector showed nerves of steel to calmly convert from the left in the end.
Terenure: A Bennie, C Smith, S O’Neill, C de Buitlear, P Sylvester try each; Pen try; A Egan 2 pens, 4 cons.
Lansdowne: A Boland, C Eddy, J Kenny, A Deay, C Redmond try each; Pen try; S Madigan pen, 2 cons; C Tector 4 cons.
Terenure College: Aran Egan; Stephen O’Neill, Colm de Buitlear, Peter Sylvester, Conor Phillips; Calum Smith, Alan Bennie; Conan O’Donnell, Sean McNulty, Adam Tuite, Mick Melia (Capt), Matt Caffrey, Harrison Brewer, Cian Huxford, Conall Bloomer.
Replacements: Adam LaGrue for O’Neill 46 mins; Ben Howard for O’Donnell, Sam Berman for de Buitlear both 58 mins; Tom Coghlan for Huxford 63 mins; Connan O’Donnell for Tuite 71 mins; Tom Stewart for McNulty, Mike Murphy for Caffrey both 72 mins.
Lansdowne: Cathal Eddy; Cillian Redmond (Capt), Andy Marks, Rory Parata, Sean Galvin; Stephen Madigan, James Kenny; George Morris, Tom Barry, Adam Boland, Jack Cooke, Ruari Clarke, Clive Ross, George Kenny, Harry van Eeden.
Replacements: Adam Deay for Boland 19 mins; Barry Fitzpatrick for Galvin, temp 28 mins; Charlie Tector for Madigan ht; Barry Fitzpatrick for Clarke 57 mins; Jack Matthews for Kenny, Hugo McLaughlin for Marks both 64 mins; Evan Downey for Barry, Luke O’Connor for Morris 73 mins; George Morris for Adam Deay 85 mins.
Referee: Padraic Reidy