Jump to main content

Menu

Boucher Praises Lansdowne’s Collective Effort

Boucher Praises Lansdowne’s Collective Effort

Saturday’s Ulster Bank League success against Clontarf was especially pleasing for Lansdowne captain Ron Boucher, given that he was one of only two players to start both the 2013 title-clinching win over ‘Tarf and the 2014/15 final.

Ron Boucher and Mark Roche, a try scorer in both games, were part of Lansdowne team that secured the club’s first Division 1A title just over two years ago with a 32-25 victory at home to Clontarf.

With 134 Ulster Bank League, appearances to his name and 10 seasons at Lansdowne, Boucher was understandably delighted to collect a second top flight crown in three seasons on Saturday afternoon, but he was quick to acknowledge the part that Clontarf played in an enthralling contest.

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

Early scrum dominance allowed the north Dubliners to take a 6-3 lead and although a very well-finished Roche try moved Lansdowne ahead for half-time, the scrum penalties mounted up and replacement prop Adam Boland saw yellow in the 44th minute.
 
“Yeah, Clontarf probably got on top at scrum time. That’s been an area we’ve targeted all year, we’re very proud of it. Fair play to them, they took that away from us, and they used it as a weapon themselves. We gave away penalties, but I just think when they scored that (intercept) try we rallied well,” said Boucher.
 
“We just kept doing the right things over and over, and we were good enough to win the game. We were the top finishing team all year, we trusted our skills and what we had. It paid off, just about.”
 
Lansdowne were certainly made to work hard for their triumph and when Clontarf centre Matt D’Arcy intercepted a Scott Deasy pass in the early stages of the second period, he raced away for a potentially game-changing try.
 
However, classy out-half Deasy recovered from this setback to land two difficult kicks from wide out – the conversion of Joe McSwiney’s maul try and then the match-winning penalty with 67 minutes on the clock.

Number 8 Boucher hailed the impact of Deasy on the day, saying: “It’s usually Conor McKeon (a Connacht debutant against Zebre on Saturday) who is coming on to kick the long range ones at the end, but yeah Scott played 80 minutes.

“A really tough kick from the touchline, and to recover from (the intercept try) and still have the mindset to come back and kick that penalty when all the pressure is on. He’s a class act and he has been brilliant for us all year.”
 
Before Lansdowne could get their hands on the trophy, Clontarf did have one final opportunity when they were awarded a penalty from just inside their half. Thankfully for Boucher and his team-mates, ‘Tarf’s 12-point kicker Rob Keogh, who came into the game nursing an injury, had been replaced at that stage and was unable to return.
 
“Yeah, I was amazed they ran it (the penalty). We were lucky that Rob Keogh was off and David Joyce wasn’t there (having missed the final with a shoulder injury). I thought it was set up to kind of have a go at it. We probably got off the hook on that one that they didn’t have the personnel to kick that at the end.”

With numerous changes in playing personnel in just two short years and the fact that they finished 17 points behind winners Clontarf in the table last season, it may have surprised some to see Lansdowne top the table this term and go on to be crowned champions in the play-offs.

There was always a quiet confidence at Lansdowne that they could regain the title in 2014/15, with new backs coach Mark McHugh and strength and conditioning coach Ciaran Walsh making a big impact as part of Mike Ruddock’s coaching team, alongside director of rugby Stephen Rooney, chairman of rugby Colin Goode and first team managers Paddy Gore and Brian Corrigan. Indeed, it was a memorable send-off for the retiring Corrigan after many years of service.

Boucher is fully aware of the work that goes on behind the scenes at Lansdowne – on the playing and coaching side of things and at administration level – and was full of praise for those who have helped the club to reach their current level of performance.
 
“There’s so much work done behind the scenes. The year we did win it (in 2013), we had a fantastic side, and maybe there was a bit of rebuilding last year,” explained the former Leinster Academy back rower.

“It’s a testament to what the guys have done in the club in terms of improvement, and selling the club to players coming out of school. The player they produce at Under-20 level, and guys like Steve Rooney digging out guys like Joe McSwiney (Saturday’s man-of-the-match).
 
Tyrone (Moran) was on the bench and he’s starting now (at hooker) and playing really well. Just finding guys that are coming up to Dublin, recruiting guys and bringing them through the 20s system. There’s so much work put in by so many people.”