Lansdowne 23 MU Barnhall 9

Lansdowne were worthy winners of the Bank of Ireland Metropolitan (J1) Cup final at Energia Pak on Tuesday evening.

A lively band of Barnhall supporters greatly enhanced the atmosphere and they were encouraged by a number of big hits early on that provided momentum.

The failure to execute from a 5-metre lineout was followed by a sweeping Lansdowne attack that led to a period of pressure.

The Dublin club passed up a certain three points from a scrum for another scrum and was promptly penalised for an early engagement.

The light frame of Sean Walsh was perfect for ruling the airways and his take set up a penalty opportunity which Billy Foley slotted for the lead in the 19th minute.

The sound tackling and aggression at the ruck of MU Barnhall, illustrated by a Will Whelan turnover, enabled them to fly up the tramline, Ben McCarthy’s chase causing a lineout.

Although they were thwarted there, the Leixlip club did earn a penalty for Jack Hannon to level it up in the 26th minute.

However, the Lansdowne lineout sprung into life, rapidly moving towards the line when it was unceremoniously brought down for a penalty try and Adam Wheatley was dispatched to the bin.

It was Lansdowne’s turn to lose a player when full-back Sam Burns was binned for making contact with the receiver in the air.

Then, Hannon knocked over a penalty for an infringement at the lineout to make it 10-6 at the break.

A scrum penalty to Barnhall was seized on by Hannon to reduce the difference to the minimum from the right in the 43rd minute.

Lansdowne’s cutting edge was just sharper, Peter Hastie orchestrating an attack for Liam O’Sullivan to dot down on the left from Kyle Dixon’s long pass, Foley converting for 17-9 in the 47th minute.

Great work by Wheatley from a block and forcing a knock-on put Banrhall on the doorstep of striking back until they were repelled by a disciplined defence, led by Dixon.

A sweet move exposed a few holes out wide and Lansdowne poured through to earn a penalty which Foley struck for 20-9 on the hour.

The accuracy of Foley shone through again from 40 metres when MU-Barnhall transgressed at a ruck to widen the gap to 14 points.

They were able to see it through from there with something to spare.

Scorers: Lansdowne – L O’Sullivan try; Pen try; B Foley 3 pens, con. MU Barnhall – J Hannon 3 pens.

Lansdowne: Sam Burns; Billy Foley, Matthew Grogan, Kyle Dixon, Liam O’Sullivan; Peter Hastie, Mike Walsh; Sean Dunne, Jamie Kavanagh, Conan Dunne, Matthew Healy, Sean Walsh, Evan Downey, Stephen Callinian, Darragh Murphy.

Replacements – Adam Boland for Healy 12 mins; Alex Kinahan for M Walsh, Dylan Tighe for C Dunne both 52 mins; Richie Allen for Downey, Jack Matthews for Hastie both 69 mins; Evan Downey for Murphy 72 mins.

MU Barnhall: Niall Hilliard; Ben McCarthy, Will Whelan, Fionn Kenna, Sean Wafer; Jack Hannon, Conor Neville; Sean Flaherty, Gearoid Quinn, Lee Franzoni (Capt), Stephen Hadley, Adam Wheatley, Fergus Stanley, James Whelan, Richie Dowling.

Replacements – Niall Derham for Dowling 12 mins; Keith Farrell for Flaherty 26 mins; Zach O’Reilly for McCarthy 43 mins; Stephen Dwyer for Kenna 57 mins; Ciaran Enright for Hadley 61 mins; Stephen Hadley for Wheatley 66 mins.

Referee: K Byrne, Leinster Branch