Although Blackrock College had less of the possession, they took every opportunity that was handed to them as they ran out 24-16 victors over Lansdowne in Friday’s AIB Cup third round clash at the RDS.
AIB CUP: THIRD ROUND: Friday, November 6
LANSDOWNE 16 BLACKROCK COLLEGE 24, The RDS
Scorers: Lansdowne: Try: Craig Ronaldson; Con: Craig Ronaldson; Pens: Andrew Geraghty 3
Blackrock College: Tries: James Power, David Rowan 2, Pens: James Power 3
In the midst of a busy AIB League campaign, Blackrock coaches Emmet Farrell and Barry Gibney fielded a much-changed team which was without the likes of Andrew Conway and Brendan Macken, but their hard-working pack stood out by displaying some excellent defensive qualities.
In the early stages, it was a game of aerial ping pong mixed with numerous handling errors but ‘Rock were quickly able to show their skill when out-half James Power used his strength to barge through two tackles and score the opening try in the third minute.
Lansdowne’s set piece was working well, especially in the lineout, yet errors began to crop up frequently when moving the ball through hands.
A costly knock-on from Lansdowne in their own 22 set up the platform for the visitors to score their second try when winger David Rowan used his pace to sneak through a gap in the defence.
However, the home side did have more of the possession in the first half and with out-half Andrew Geraghty on target with all three of his penalty kick efforts, Lansdowne were always going to have a chance in the second half.
Yet again after the break, Lansdowne, who had former Ireland centre Kieran Lewis in midfield, could not make use of their possession and the ‘Rock defence failed to buckle when under pressure.
Their number 10 Power was in fine form as his pinpoint kicks to touch managed to keep Lansdowne at bay throughout the match.
Coming into the final quarter, ‘Rock began to take a firmer hold of proceedings, putting pressure on the home defence.
The fleet-footed Rowan was once again instrumental in open play and he used his pace to score ‘Rock’s third try and set them on their way to victory.
A consolation try in the 79th minute was all that Lansdowne could muster in the second half.
Powerful number 8 Ron Boucher made a superb break but could not make the line as ‘Rock scrambled back to tidy up.
However, Craig Ronaldson, on as a replacement for Geraghty, managed to collect the ball off the back of a ruck and dart for the line for a try which he converted himself.
The win for Blackrock sees them through to the quarter-finals on Saturday, November 21, where they will meet Garryowen on home soil at Stradbrook.
LANSDOWNE: Dave Hewitt; Ross McCarron, Kieran Lewis, Greg Stafford, Shane Gahan; Andrew Geraghty, Matthew Healy; Colum Murphy (capt), David Twomey, John Lyne, Alan Maher, Neilus Keogh, Willie Earle, Ben Horan, Ron Boucher.
Replacements used: Justin Meagher for Stafford, Craig Ronaldson for Geraghty (both half-time), Brian McKeever for Horan (75 mins).
BLACKROCK COLLEGE: Darragh Fitzpatrick; David Rowan, Stan McDowell, Rob Keogh, Mark Scott-Lennon; James Power, David Madigan; Sean Byrne, James Mannion, Arthur Lyons, Des Dillon (capt), Paul Huntly, Mick Carroll, Zack Farivarz, Alex Dunlop.
Replacements used: Conor Crowley for Madigan, Diarmuid Laffan for Dunlop, Johnny Barretto for Lyons (all 64 mins), David O’Brien for Mannion (73).
Referee: John Lacey (IRFU)