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Lansdowne Clinch Promotion Spot

Lansdowne Clinch Promotion Spot

Lansdowne grabbed the second automatic promotion spot in Division 1B with a 15-0 win over Buccaneers on the back pitch at the Aviva Stadium.

This was a real arm wrestle of a match with the carrot of promotion to Division 1A there for both sides. Buccaneers came into this game on the back of four successive losses and they could not recapture their form of mid-season.

In the end, Lansdowne showed a more clinical edge to their play in the second half, with tries from replacement Craig Ronaldson and centre Eamonn Sheridan wrapping up the victory.

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Lansdowne pinned Buccs back in the opening quarter as the visitors took time to settle on the artificial pitch. But Lansdowne's discipline was proving costly and a yellow card for young Leinster back rower Dominic Ryan halted their advances.

Lansdowne had two penalty misses and Buccaneers youngster Jack Carty was also off target with a 19th minute penalty attempt.

Both defences were solid and with little to choose between the sides, it was no surprise that this edgy encounter was 0-0 at the break.

The Pirates could not take advantage when Lansdowne lock Willie Earle was sin-binned in the second half, and Ronaldson stepped up to convert a 56th minute penalty and give the hosts the lead.

There were contrasting styles on show as Lansdowne moved the ball at pace, trying to bring an attacking back-three of David Kearney, Ciaran O'Boyle and Shane Gahan into the game.

Buccs kept things tight for the most part and their forwards picked and drove effectively. Just when it looked like they might break down the Lansdowne defence, a loose ball was seized upon by home scrum half John Cooney and his break teed up Ronaldson for a try in the left corner.

Into injury-time, Lansdowne added some much-needed cushion to their lead when Sheridan took a Ronaldson pass and sidestepped the first defender to race in for a try by the posts, which Ronaldson converted.

So, promotion goes to Willie Clancy's Lansdowne side after their fourth win in five league games. For Buccaneers, they could still feature in Division 1A next season – their next challenge is trying to overcome Garryowen in a promotion/relegation play-off.

Referee: Alan Lewis (IRFU)