Leo Cullen reflects on the win over Glasgow
April 28, 2017 / 10:56 pm / Conor Sharkey
There were a number of milestones at the RDS Arena on Friday night: Ross Molony captained the province for the first time in a competitive fixture, Nick McCarthy made his first senior start (and picked up the Guinness Man of the Match award as well), Tom Daly made his first start at the Ballsbridge venue.
Mike Ross, who this week announced he would retire at the end of the season, led the team out with his son Kevin by his side.
The Guinness PRO12 record for the number of tries scored in a single season was also broken when Rory O’Loughlin went over for the Championship’s 652nd five-pointer.
And then the lights went out.
“It had a bit of everything that game,” was the way Leo Cullen put it when he spoke to the media after the match.
“It’s not an ideal scenario but I thought the players of both teams showed good character the way they got themselves set and got on with the job at the end and finished out the last 90 seconds or so.”
Once the lights did come back on Leinster finished the job to squeeze past a Glasgow side that mounted an impressive second half comeback.
“I was really pleased with efforts in the first half. I thought we played at a really good pace, tempo and with good intensity in a lot of our actions as well. At the start of the second half we probably didn’t manage that period particularly well. We always knew Glasgow would come back into the game. I think they probably underperformed, I’d imagine, in their own heads in that first half. They’d a bit more bite to their actions [in the second half].
“We knew they’d come out firing in the second half but we didn’t deal with it particularly well. Then we got our composure back and we had a series of scrums, and then we just lost our way a little bit. Glasgow got back into the game and went ahead.”
Despite falling behind, Cullen was pleased to see a young Leinster side show the mental strength to edge back in front.
“For a number of young guys in that scenario it’s very pleasing to see that they can work their way through that. They come up with the penalty from the lineout, Joey shows really good composure [to kick the penalty]. Ross Byrne came off the bench and kicked a [match-winning] drop goal against the Ospreys a few weeks ago. Joey comes off the bench today and kicks a match-winning penalty. It’s very pleasing to see the calmness those 21-year-olds are showing against quality opposition.”
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