The Leinster ‘A’ team completed a hard-fought but deserved 32-28 victory over their Ospreys counterparts at the Belfield Bowl on Friday afternoon.
Speaking after the game, Leinster ‘A’ coach Colin McEntee said that he was pleased with his team’s performance.
“I feel that the result is just reward for all the hard work that the team has put in over the last few weeks,” he said.
“Though we were probably guilty of committing some individual mistakes, we put some good passages of play together. We’re very pleased to get the win.”
Leinster ‘A’ opened the game strongly and a beautifully weighted pass from Chris Keane found the impressive Gary Brown who raced in for his side’s first try of a bitterly cold afternoon.
Fergus McFadden, who put in an assured kicking display, added the conversion after 16 minutes.
The hosts added their second try through a trademark Cian Healy burst from a ruck two minutes later and though McFadden missed the conversion from the touchline, he would make amends with a penalty in the 33rd minute.
Leinster ‘A’ turned the knife and Brown raced in for his second try after some superb offloading, with McFadden again slotting home the conversion, to give the hosts a 22-0 half-time lead.
Credit to the Ospreys, they fought back with the wind behind them and Leigh Bevan (42 minutes) crossed to get his side back in touch, with Gareth Bowen adding the points.
Simon Keogh, a constant thorn in the Ospreys side, then got the reward his efforts merited with a 53rd-minute try after some excellent work by Paul O’Donohoe, who put in a very good display in the unfamiliar out-half position.
There was a dangerous period of play for Leinster ‘A’ as the Ospreys were awarded a penalty try (63 minutes), while efforts from replacement Marty Holah (70) and Sonny Parker (76) ensured a tense finale, with Bowen converting all three conversions to narrow the lead to one point.
But a McFadden penalty in injury-time eased the pressure and Leinster ‘A’ held on to cap a fine recent run of form.
LEINSTER ‘A’: Ian Madigan; Gary Brown, Fergus McFadden, Kyle Tonetti, Simon Keogh; Paul O’Donohoe, Chris Keane; Cian Healy, Brian Blaney, Jamie Hagan, Cameron Jowitt, Trevor Hogan, Kevin McLaughlin, Paul Ryan, Stephen Keogh (capt).
Replacements used: Conor McInerney for Stephen Keogh (37 mins), Devin Toner for McLaughlin (half-time), John Fogarty for Blaney (50), Niall Morris for Madigan (59), CJ Van Der Linde for Hagan (64), Stan Wright for Healy (71); Not used: Ian McKinley, Shane Monahan.
OSPREYS: Ashley Beck; Leigh Bevan, David Bishop (capt), Sonny Parker, Kristian Phillips; Gareth Bowen, Jamie Nutbrown; Ryan Bevington, Marc Breeze, Craig Mitchell, Michael Collins, Lyndon Bateman, AN Other, Steve Tandy, Tom Smith.
Replacements: Ed Shervington, Cai Griffiths, Paul James, Sam Kiley, Marty Holah, Tavis Noyle, Richard Carter
Referee: Dudley Phillips (IRFU)