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Five-Try Lansdowne Conquer Castle Avenue

Five-Try Lansdowne Conquer Castle Avenue

Having struggled past Old Belvedere last week, Division 1A leaders Lansdowne were back at full tilt on Saturday as they ran in five tries without reply to beat defending champions Clontarf 35-0 at Castle Avenue.

First half touchdowns from Scott Deasy, Tom Farrell and Cian Kelleher created the platform for this comprehensive triumph. Young centre Farrell was in sublime form as Mike Ruddock's men recorded their seventh Ulster Bank League victory in succession.

Clontarf had impressed in the previous round at home to St. Mary's College, so this resounding defeat to one of their title rivals will come as a big setback in their quest for a play-off position.

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With the breeze at their backs in the first half, Lansdowne were determined to issue a strong statement of intent. Clontarf were missing a number of first choice players, including Mick McGrath who has returned to the Leinster set-up for the time being, and just two minutes in their hand was weakened even further.

'Tarf winger Ariel Robles and flanker Adrian D'Arcy both had to leave the pitch through injury and despite missing an early effort at goal, Lansdowne out-half Deasy (pictured above) opened the scoring from a 10th minute penalty.

He made it 6-0 five minutes later, with the strong wind making it difficult for Clontarf to gain a foothold in the Lansdowne half and they regularly found themselves on the back foot.

The north Dubliners defended well as a unit in the first quarter, but their try-line was breached by Lansdowne on 24 minutes. Scrum half Adam Griggs was the orchestrator of the move, and his neat kick forward was grounded by half-back partner Deasy in the left corner.

Lansdowne's second try came ten minutes later when Farrell profited from excellent approach work by Tom Daly to touch down on the left hand side.

'Tarf finally showed some attacking intent just before the break but after the powerful Farrell embarked on a memorable solo run, Lansdowne full-back Kelleher (pictured below) was in the right place to claim another converted score. With a 23-0 buffer, the visitors looked certain to register their 10th win of the league campaign.

Yet, a Clontarf comeback could not be ruled out and replacement Daniel Hanratty almost crossed over on the left flank ten minutes into the second period. Lansdowne forced him into touch on this occasion, and strong defensive work was required to prevent Matt D'Arcy and Anthony McGivney from breaking through just shy of the hour mark.

However, in spite of some admirable endeavours, 'Tarf simply could not breach the stern Lansdowne defence and it was left to Ruddock's charges to get the scoreboard moving again.

Tyrone Moran and Farrell made significant gains inside the 'Tarf half after 69 minutes and when Ian Fitzpatrick was held up just shy of the line, Farrell (pictured above) was on hand to secure a bonus point score for his side.

Clontarf had been reduced to 14 men courtesy of a Tom Byrne sin-binning by this stage and following another incisive attacking move, lock Brian Moylett added a fifth try to bring the curtain down on an outstanding Lansdowne performance.

Referee: Andy Brace (IRFU)