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Deasy Kicks Late Winner For Lansdowne

Deasy Kicks Late Winner For Lansdowne

Scott Deasy held his nerve to convert an 84th minute penalty for Lansdowne and hand his former club Cork Constitution their second defeat on the trot.

Mike Ruddock's men emerged as 16-13 winners at Temple Hill despite a spirited second half revival from 14-man Con who had unconverted tries from centre Niall Kenneally and flanker James Murphy.

After last week's disappointing result away to Old Belvedere, Constitution were keen to win on home soil with captain Gerry Hurley shifting to out-half and Ireland Under-20 international Ryan Foley selected as his half-back partner.

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Lansdowne lost Ireland U-20 lock Stephen Gardiner in the warm-up, his injury seeing Jack Dilger promoted from the bench with ex-Cork Con forward Joe McSwiney, who had a fine debut for Lansdowne, moving to the second row. Ross Deacon came onto the bench and also made his league bow.

Hurley's opposite number Scott Deasy was again Lansdowne's orchestrator-in-chief, with his neat grubber kick putting young winger Ian Fitzpatrick over for a fourth minute try. It was simple rugby but brilliantly executed.

Deasy's conversion and two penalties – both of which were awarded for scrum infringements – cancelled out a lone three-pointer from Hurley, who split the posts with a ninth minute penalty awarded for a high tackle on himself. It remained 13-3 up to half-time.

Hurley had to rally his troops after lock Graeme Lawler was red carded for his involvement in a 36th minute forward melee – his dismissal was for allegedly 'leading with the head'.

Try-scoring chances in the first half were few and far between but Fitzpatrick almost scored a carbon copy of his early try and Constitution also did well to put pressure on an attacking Lansdowne lineout near the corner.

A series of injuries hampered the visitors though and as so often happens in sport, the sending off seemed to have a galvanising effect on Tom Tierney's side who posed a consistent counter-attacking threat.

The missed opportunities were beginning to mount for Lansdowne as, early in the second period, they failed to profit from a promising Tom Daly break and Deasy was then wide with a 48th minute penalty.

With number 8 Luke Cahill leading Con's resistance, the hosts battled on without Lawler and stayed in the hunt despite being 10 points behind.

Hurley was off target with a penalty attempt, but the Leesiders, who did the double over Lansdowne last season, suddenly recaptured some of their best form in the final quarter.

They scrummaged impressively with seven forwards and picked off two quick-fire tries, using a close-in lineout to set up Kenneally's initial effort from midfield. Hurley missed the conversion.

A forward pass saw full-back Cian Kelleher called back as he pressed for Lansdowne's second try of the day, and it was 14 versus 14 again when Kelleher's back-three colleague Thomas Farrell was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on in the 67th minute.

Cork Con used their lineout as a platform once more as another bout of forward pressure led to blindside Murphy (pictured below) burrowing over from a couple of metres out to level matters at 13-all. Hurley though was unable to convert.

Lansdowne captain Ron Boucher then led by example with a storming run from his 22 which crucially got the Dubliners back into scoring range.

Having lost their way following a dominant first half display, Ruddock's charges somehow managed to grasp victory from the jaws of defeat as Con's valiant efforts fell just short.

In what could prove to be a vital kick come April, Deasy's crisply-struck injury-time penalty gave Lansdowne a hard-earned four league points and a measure of revenge for last year's two defeats.

Referee: Sean Gallagher (IRFU)