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Celtic Cup: O’Driscoll And D’Arcy Shine For Leinster

Celtic Cup: O’Driscoll And D’Arcy Shine For Leinster

Lions centres Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy pulled Leinster through to a first ever Celtic Cup semi-final at Lansdowne Road on Friday night.

Lions centres Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy pulled Leinster through to a first ever Celtic Cup semi-final at Lansdowne Road on Friday night.

Celtic Cup Quarter-Final: Friday, April 29
Leinster 33 Glasgow 24, Lansdowne Road
Scorers: Leinster: Tries: Girvan Dempsey, Victor Costello, Gordon D’Arcy 2, Brian O’Driscoll; Cons: David Holwell 4
Glasgow: Tries: Paul Dearlove, Sean Lamont; Con: Dan Parks: Pens: Parks 4

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O’Driscoll and D’Arcy shared out three crucial tries as Leinster set up a probable semi-final date against Munster in Dublin in two weeks’ time – playing the best of their rugby in the first and final quarters against Glasgow.

Hugh Campbell’s Scots – beaten 30-23 by Leinster at Hughenden a fortnight ago – produced a never-say-die second half performance.

The visitors picked off two tries in the space of eleven second half minutes through number 8 Paul Dearlove and Scotland wing Sean Lamont – who scorched over from inside his own 22 – to draw level at 21-21.

Leinster had earlier racked up a 21-3 advantage by the first-half’s 35th minute. Full-back Girvan Dempsey evaded Calvin Howarth on the drift defence after a silky O’Driscoll-D’Arcy set-up to score on 8 minutes.

Leinster’s player of the month for March David Holwell converted and added the extras to retiring number 8 Victor Costello’s 17th-minute left wing try.

D’Arcy’s first of two crucial tries – with five minutes remaining in the opening half – was brilliantly set-up by a looping Holwell pass and finished finely as the Wexford man jinked through the Glasgow cover.

Holwell again converted for 21-3 but two Dan Parks’ penalties on 44 and 46 minutes left the visitors 12 points down at the break.

Dearlove’s excursion out left two minutes after the restart paved the way for Glasgow to lay further foundations to their chances of ending Leinster’s unbeaten five-game Celtic record at Lansdowne.

Lamont’s 53rd-minute score, immediately after Leinster substitute Malcolm O’Kelly had lurched inches short of the Glasgow line was a body blow for the home side.

Parks’ fourth penalty on the hour further dented Leinster’s resolve as they went behind – 24-21 – for the first time.

But as before, the province’s midfield maestros O’Driscoll – diving over in the left corner on a Des Dillon feed – and D’Arcy – out-muscling Parks for a 70th-minute touchdown under the Glasgow posts – secured a fourth Celtic victory in five weeks for Reggie Corrigan’s men.


(15) Girvan Dempsey
(14) Gary Brown
(13) Brian O’Driscoll
(12) Gordon D’Arcy
(11) Kieran Lewis
(10) David Holwell
(9) Guy Easterby
(1) Reggie Corrigan (Capt)
(2) Shane Byrne
(3) Ricky Nebbett
(4) Ben Gissing
(5) Leo Cullen
(6) Des Dillon
(7) Keith Gleeson
(8) Victor Costello

Replacements used: Malcolm O’Kelly for Cullen, Denis Hickie for Lewis, Shane Horgan for Brown (all half-time), Emmett Byrne for Nebbett (55), Brian O’Riordan for Easterby (59), Shane Jennings for Costello (67), David Blaney for S Byrne (75).

Glasgow: Calvin Howarth; Rory Lamont, Andrew Henderson, Scott Barrow, Sean Lamont; Dan Parks, Graeme Beveridge; Kevin Tkachuk, Scott Lawson, Euan Murray, Joe Beardshaw, Dan Turner, Steve Swindall, Jon Petrie (Capt), Paul Dearlove.

Replacements used: Andrew Wilson for Swindall, Sam Pinder for Beveridge (both 51 mins), Kenny Logan for R Lamont (54-63, 70-full-time), Andy Craig for Henderson, Andrew Hall for Beardshaw (both 62), Ben Prescott for Murray 74), Fergus Thomson for Lawson (76).

HT: Leinster 21 Glasgow 9; Attendance: 3,100
Referee: Nigel Williams (Wales)