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Leinster Finish Pre-Season With Three-Try Win Over Bath

Leinster Finish Pre-Season With Three-Try Win Over Bath

Half-time replacements Dave Kearney, Joey Carbery and Nick McCarthy scored 17 points between them as a young Leinster team got the better of Bath in last night’s Bank of Ireland pre-season clash at Donnybrook.

PRE-SEASON MATCH: Friday, August 25

LEINSTER 25 BATH 17, Donnybrook
Scorers: Leinster: Tries: Max Deegan, Dave Kearney, Nick McCarthy; Cons: Joey Carbery 2; Pens: Ross Byrne, Joey Carbery
Bath: Tries: Ben Tapuai, Kahn Fotuali’i 2; Con: Freddie Burns

HT: Leinster 8 Bath 0

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With Leinster lead whittled down to 15-12, Joey Carbery’s second half cameo was particularly eye-catching as he teed up Dave Kearney’s try, slotted a key penalty and was central to the build-up to Nick McCarthy’s late score, which he also converted to put the province out of reach.

Although Kahn Fotuali’i answered back in the dying minutes with his second try of the night, Leinster were good value for their second win in three pre-season outings, as thoughts now turn to next Saturday’s opening GUINNESS PRO14 game away to Bernard Jackman’s Dragons.

Part of a back row with an average age of just 20, Caelan Doris’ first contribution as a professional was to take down 2017 Lion Taulupe Faletau. Leinster’s youngsters were heavily involved in the opening exchanges, Doris and Max Deegan putting their shoulders to the wheel and full-back Jordan Larmour showing his pace.

Out-half Ross Byrne tickled a kick into the corner as part of the building process. Bath were sound at the lineout and in their exit from their new out-half Freddie Burns. The Leinster scrum convinced referee John Lacey they were worthy of a penalty which Byrne could not quite draw in from the right.

Scrum half Jamison Gibson-Park’s positioning to deal with Burns’ grubber and fine kick forward earned a promising lineout before a second throw went astray. The dexterity of Faletau over the ball was good for a penalty which saw Burns take play up to Leinster’s 22 where Mick Kearney was there to ruin a maul for yet another turnover.

It took Ross Byrne’s mazy manoeuvre and simple pass, from Burns’ high ball, to release Will Connors, the attack halted by a two-man take down on Ireland Under-20 hooker Ronan Kelleher (pictured below). A lovely cut-out pass from Gibson-Park then put Byrne outside the first defender and, from there, many hands might light work of the defence to force a penalty for Byrne to make it 3-0 in the 25th minute.

It was not long before second row Kearney went off his feet at the back end of a counter ruck, however Wales international Rhys Priestland was wide of the target with his 38-metre penalty. Fergus McFadden’s slap down of a skip ball offered Priestland a chance to squeeze Leinster. A textbook tackle by McFadden on Chris Cook put an end to that, and Gibson-Park almost put Barry Daly away down the left.

The fine work of loosehead Ed Byrne and lively flanker Connors (pictured below) offered further encouragement to the hosts ahead of Gibson-Park’s immaculate pass which Daly a one-on-one with Semesa Rokoduguni which he could not exploit. Leinster’s best moment of the first half came from a first phase strike off a solid scrum, Jimmy O’Brien’s exquisite pass sending Daly into space. He just could not find O’Brien with a return delivery, though.

There was a scrum penalty for quick comfort and a five-metre lineout. The dancing feet of centre Conor O’Brien, nimble work of Ed Byrne, low body angle of Connors onto the ball all preceded Deegan’s slick finish on the left for 8-0 in the 39th minute. It was the 21-year-old’s third try for Leinster in the space of a week.

On the resumption, it took Carbery all of one minute to manufacture a foot race which Dave Kearney won against full-back Darren Atkins for the province’s second try of the contest. Carbery converted to leave Bath trailing 15-0 in the 42nd minute.

However, when Dave Kearney’s clearance was not accurate just over two minutes later, Bath centre Ben Tapuai took advantage to beat Sean Cronin on the outside and strike back. The Aviva Premiership side used the maul to make ground and replacement scrum half Fotuali’i slipped through to score, Burns adding the extras to make it a three-point game with half-an-hour remaining.

At this point, Leinster looked for tempo and they found it from Jordi Murphy’s excellence and Carbery’s quickness, the latter landing a penalty on the hour to steady the ship at 18-12.

The footwork and fizz of Carbery was added to by the drive of Cronin and recent Ireland debutant James Ryan to take Leinster close. It took Carbery’s improvisation from a bad pass – he reacted smartly to tidy up loose possession and kick it through all in one movement – to keep Leinster on the front foot as Bath had to concede a close-in lineout.

They were patient there, in the face of strong defence from the Englishmen. Doris and Ryan had both gone close before replacement scrum half McCarthy managed to squeeze over in the 77th minute, with Carbery converting to open up a 25-12 advantage.

A Matt Banahan offload at the Leinster line did not go to hand, but an alert Fotuali’i pounced on the loose ball to claim his second touchdown. That late leak did not matter in the end as Leo Cullen’s young guns recorded an impressive home win ahead of their round 1 trip to Newport.

LEINSTER: Jordan Larmour; Fergus McFadden, Jimmy O’Brien, Conor O’Brien, Barry Daly; Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park; Ed Byrne, Ronan Kelleher, Michael Bent, Ross Molony (capt), Mick Kearney, Caelan Doris, Will Connors, Max Deegan.

Replacements used: Adam Byrne for McFadden, Dave Kearney for Daly, Joey Carbery for R Byrne, Nick McCarthy for Gibson-Park, Vakh Abdaladze for E Byrne, Sean Cronin for Kelleher, Andrew Porter for Bent, James Ryan for M Kearney, Jordi Murphy for Connors (all half-time), McFadden for C O’Brien, Ian Nagle for Molony (both 56 mins), Ian Fitzpatrick for D Kearney (68), Hugo Keenan for J O’Brien (70), Cathal Marsh for Larmour (77).

BATH: Darren Atkins; Semesa Rokoduguni, Max Clark, Ben Tapuai, Harry Davies; Freddie Burns, Chris Cook; Nick Auterac, Jack Walker, Kane Palma-Newport, James Phillips, Elliott Stooke, Matt Garvey (capt), Guy Mercer, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements used: Rhys Priestland for Burns (22 mins, temp sub; 60), Kahn Fotuali’i for Cook, Beno Obano for Auterac, Tom Dunn for Walker, Sam Nixon for Palma-Newport, Zach Mercer for Garvey, Paul Grant for Faletau (all half-time), Josh Lewis for Tapuai (47), Levi Douglas for Phillips, Luke Charteris for Stooke (both 60), Matt Banahan for Clark (62).

Referee: John Lacey (IRFU)