Tom Daly’s injury-time penalty split Lansdowne and Clontarf at the end of a thrilling Dublin derby at Castle Avenue on Friday night.
Tom Daly, the Leinster Under-20 centre, showed his mettle by converting the last kick of the game, a right-sided penalty on the 10-metre line, to keep Lansdowne at the top of Division 1A.
It was a reversal of fortunes for Mike Ruddock's men who watched Johnny Holland kick Cork Constitution to a late victory at the Aviva Stadium last Saturday.
Experienced league campaigner Richie Lane did all the scoring for Clontarf in the first half, helping them take a 13-7 interval lead with a converted try and two penalties.
He got them off the mark with an early wind-backed penalty before Lansdowne captain Ross McCarron swept onto a dangerous grubber kick from Craig Ronaldson to dot down under the posts for a 19th minute converted try.
The hosts replied with Lane’s seven-pointer as he followed up on a tremendous surge from the in-form Timmy McCoy which carved open the Lansdowne defence. Scrum half Sam Cronin looped around and provided a fine scoring pass for the winger to get over to the right of the posts.
Daly missed a kickable penalty and ‘Tarf ended the half six points to the good thanks to a late 50-metre penalty from the influential Lane.
A great burst from Clontarf skipper Evan Ryan was the highlight of a tight third quarter until Lansdowne’s energetic pack drove over from a five-metre lineout with Leinster hooker Tom Sexton getting the touchdown.
Daly again converted to move the headquarters club back in front and the Ireland Under-19 international added his first penalty of the night soon after.
With just 12 minutes left, ‘Tarf needed to strike back quickly and it took another underage international, Tadhg Furlong, to plunder their second try of this exciting contest.
Replacement Matt D’Arcy launched the hosts forward courtesy of a smart break into Lansdowne territory. A five-metre lineout soon followed and the pressure told as powerful prop Furlong burrowed his way over.
Lane missed the conversion, leaving ‘Tarf to hold onto an 18-17 lead. That miss came back to haunt them as Ruddock’s charges fought on with Tadhg Beirne and Clive Ross making strong carries. They won a last-gasp penalty which Daly drove home for the win.
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (IRFU)