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Daly Double Not Enough As Leinster ‘A’ Lose To Nottingham
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Daly Double Not Enough As Leinster ‘A’ Lose To Nottingham

Daly Double Not Enough As Leinster ‘A’ Lose To Nottingham

Barry Daly helped himself to two tries but Leinster ‘A’ ultimately succumbed to a 29-21 defeat at the hands of a determined Nottingham side in today’s British & Irish Cup match at Donnybrook.

Leinster 'A' were impressive 68-19 winners over Richmond in the opening round last weekend, and even though head coach Hugh Hogan made six changes for this game, the presence of Ireland internationals Richardt Strauss and Jack Conan bolstered the home pack.

Nottingham suffered a 33-11 home defeat to the Scarlets Premiership Select in their pool opener and they had a familiar face at openside flanker. Former Clongowes Wood College student Jordan Coghlan joined the Championship outfit from Munster in the summer, and was a British & Irish Cup winner with Leinster 'A' during his time with the province.

Despite a bright start from the Blues, they fell behind to a tenth minute try by Nottingham's scrum half Darryl Veenendaal. The pacy David Williams kicked a loose ball forward on the left wing, and just before it reached the dead-ball line, Veenendaal manage to dot down. George Worth knocked over an excellent conversion for 7-0.

Leinster 'A' were quick to respond and after they had play towards the left wing, UCD's Barry Daly showed his finishing skills under intense pressure from the Nottingham cover. Ross Byrne's superb conversion from out wide levelled matters in the 14th minute.

The visitors, who are coached by former Munster assistant Ian Costello, were playing with supreme confidence, though, and at the end of a driving maul from an attacking lineout, prop Pat Cilliers grounded the ball for Nottingham's second try.

Worth was marginally off target with his second kick at goal, but this only provided Leinster 'A' with a temporary respite, as powerful Tongan centre Vili Hakalo touched down in clinical fashion on 25 minutes – after he opened up a gap through the heart of the home defence.

A crucial Hugo Keenan interception five minutes before half-time prevented Veenendaal from setting up a bonus point try for Williams. However, thanks to a late penalty by Leicester Tigers dual-contracted player Worth, it was Nottingham who went off with a 22-7 cushion.

Leinster 'A' lost flanker Josh Murphy to injury nearing the interval and his place was taken by Max Deegan, who was sent to the sin-bin just three minutes after the restart.

Nottingham immediately took advantage of their temporary numerical supremacy, as hooker Jimmy Stevens joined his front row colleague Cilliers on the scoresheet by finishing off another incisive maul to the right of the province's posts.

This left Leinster 'A' with a mountain to climb, but after the introduction of Hayden Triggs and Charlie Rock in the 46th minute, they did build some much-needed momentum. A well-executed move across the Nottingham line found its way to Ross Byrne, and his precise offload presented Barry Daly with the simple task of crossing in the left corner.

Ross Byrne added a sublime conversion from the touchline to reduce the gap to 22-14 with half an hour remaining. This proved to be his final contribution of the game, as he made way for St. Mary's College clubman Cathal Marsh. Barry Daly was over again from the next attack, but Jimmy O'Brien's pass to him was adjudged by Welsh referee Craig Evans to have been forward.

Hogan's charges were not out of contention just yet, however, and their third try arrived 15 minutes from time. Barry Daly turned creator on this occasion as his neat pass enabled the returning Deegan to run in a well-worked five-pointer.

With just eights points now separating the teams, a tense conclusion was in store. Yet, despite threatening to notch a fourth try in the closing moments of the play, Leinster 'A' eventually came up short. They will aim to bounce back in their next outing at home to the Scarlets Premiership Select on Saturday, December 10.

Referee: Craig Evans (Wales)

Lineups Scorers

Match Lineups

Home Team

Jack Power; Hugo Keenan, Jimmy O'Brien, Tom Daly, Barry Daly; Ross Byrne, Nick McCarthy; Andrew Porter, Richardt Strauss, Jeremy Loughman, Ross Molony, James Ryan, Josh Murphy, Peadar Timmins (capt), Jack Conan.

Replacements used: Max Deegan for Murphy (37 mins), Bryan Byrne for Strauss (half-time), Hayden Triggs for Ryan, Charlie Rock for McCarthy (both 46), Jordan Larmour for Power, Cathal Marsh for R Byrne (both 51), Oisin Heffernan for Porter (60).

Away Team

Will Millett; Jimmy Stephenson, Charlie Thacker, Vili Hakalo, David Williams; George Worth, Darryl Veenendaal; Kieran Davies, Jimmy Stevens, Pat Cilliers; Toby Freeman, Tom Holmes; Rob Langley, Jordan Coghlan, Ben Morris (capt).

Replacements used: Oli Evans for Hakalo (52 mins), Shane Buckley for Freeman (56), Ben Brownlie for Stevens (62), Harry Morley for Davies, Tom Heard for Cilliers (both 66), Murray McConnell for Veenendaal (70), Matt Everard for Langley (73).

Match Scorers

Home Team

Tries: Barry Daly 2, Max Deegan; Cons: Ross Byrne 2, Cathal Marsh

Away Team

Tries: Darryl Veenendaal, Pat Cilliers, Vili Hakalo, Jimmy Stevens; Cons: George Worth 3; Pen: George Worth