Leinster Development XV out-half Charlie Tector led the scoring as Lansdowne overcame a highly-fancied Terenure College 39-26 in an absorbing Division 1A game at Lakelands Park.
ENERGIA MEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, October 9
TERENURE COLLEGE 26 LANSDOWNE 39, Lakelands Park
Scorers: Terenure College: Tries: James Connolly, Craig Adams 2; Con: James Thornton; Pens: James Thornton 3
Lansdowne: Tries: Cormac Foley, Luke Thompson, Sean Galvin, Mark Boyle, Eamonn Mills; Cons: Charlie Tector 4; Pens: Charlie Tector 2
HT: Terenure College 15 Lansdowne 17
Tector, a late call-up to the starting line-up, landed 14 points from the tee, supplementing tries from Cormac Foley, Luke Thompson, Sean Galvin, Mark Boyle and Eamonn Mills.
Terenure had three tries – including a first one for new signing James Connolly – and were only 24-23 behind entering the final quarter.
However, Mark McHugh’s men seized control of the scoreboard with number 8 Boyle breaking clean through from a ruck, Tector firing over another penalty, and full-back Mills crossed for the clincher in the 73rd minute.
The game started at a frantic pace and Terenure out-half James Thornton slotted over a fifth minute penalty, after the hosts had threatened a try from a kick through.
Tector got the headquarters club off the mark with a penalty of his own, before Boyle slipped away from a ruck, passing for Leinster Academy scrum half Foley to raid over from 25 metres out, despite two chasing defenders.
After Tector’s conversion for 10-3, ‘Nure hit back with a terrific maul score from flanker Connolly, Thornton supplying the levelling conversion from five metres in from the right touchline.
Obstruction robbed them another try – following Mills’ sin-binning for a professional foul – but there was no denying winger Craig Adams whose direct run off a ruck saw him crash over.
It all came from a Lansdowne goal-line drop out, the home side upping the tempo from a Colm de Buitlear carry and offload. Harrison Brewer and Campbell Classon gained further yards before Alan Bennie, the former Lansdowne scrum half, provided the try-scoring pass.
Nonetheless, Lansdowne showed the effectiveness of their own maul when hooker Thompson broke away to score on the right, just before half-time.
Stephen Madigan’s impressive break, at the end of which he was high-tackled, had set the wheels in motion. Tector’s conversion nudged the visitors in front at 17-15.
Early in the second half, Lansdowne captain Jack O’Sullivan made the the hard yards up the pitch. Jack Dwan also had a fine game, stealing a few lineouts and causing headaches for ‘Nure at the breakdown.
Profiting from a jinking run by replacement Peter Sylvester, Sean Skehan’s charges retook the lead through a Thornton penalty, before the sides swapped tries.
A very well-taken Galvin effort tore open the home defence – Boyle, O’Sullivan and Madigan all featured in a free-flowing build-up down the right – with Tector converting from the touchline.
Lansdowne were coping well with replacement lock Matthew Healy’s yellow card, but just two minutes later, Terenure’s swashbuckling attack was rewarded when Adams went over again.
Jordan Coghlan and de Buitlear combined in the hosts’ 22, the latter breaking free up to the ‘Nure 10-metre line where he linked with Classon. Some razor sharp handling and recycling followed, before Adams was released for the right corner.
That proved to be their last try, though, as Lansdowne began to turn the screw. Boyle deservedly got on the scoresheet, off the back of solid carries by skipper O’Sullivan and Thompson.
Terenure recovered from Coghlan’s sin-binning to set up a third successful penalty from Thornton, bringing this thrilling encounter back to a five-point game.
The Lansdowne scrum forced a penalty which Tector fired home from 45 metres out, and Mills made the result safe with a speedy finish to the right of the posts.
A maul on the opposite wing was the starting point, the visitors getting up a head of steam as it snaked forward. Tector linked with Paul Kiernan who avoided a tackle and spun the ball out for Mills to race over.
TERENURE COLLEGE: Colm de Buitlear; Craig Adams, Stephen O’Neill, Caolan Dooley, Jake Swaine; James Thornton, Alan Bennie; Campbell Classon, Conor McCormack, Adam Tuite, Luke Clohessy, Stephen Caffrey, Harrison Brewer, James Connolly, Jordan Coghlan.
Replacements: Levin Vaughan, Andy Keating, Matthew Caffrey, Peter Sylvester, Sam Coghlan Murray, Adam La Grue.
LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills; Sean Galvin, Paul Kiernan, Corey Reid, Harry Brennan; Charlie Tector, Cormac Foley; Ben Popplewell, Luke Thompson, Conan Dunne, Joey Szpara, Jack Dwan, Clive Ross, Jack O’Sullivan (capt), Mark Boyle.
Replacements: Jamie Kavanagh, Greg McGrath, Matthew Healy, Mark Hernan, James Kenny, Stephen Madigan.