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Lansdowne Extend Lead To Ten Points

Lansdowne Extend Lead To Ten Points

Division 1A top try scorer Cian Aherne touched down twice as Lansdowne extended their lead at the top of the table with a bonus point victory over nearest rivals Garryowen.

On the Aviva Stadium's back pitch, the hosts enjoyed a near perfect start when full-back and captain Ross McCarron scored in the right corner following a bout of early pressure on the back of a scrum.

Out-half Craig Ronaldson was off target with the conversion that followed, however, and Garryowen responded extremely well to this early setback with an expertly-taken penalty from Connacht's Matt Jarvis seven minutes in.

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This settled the Limerick men down and their opening try of the contest arrived just two minutes later when prop JP Cooney drove powerfully over the line, following a smart run from centre Corey Hircock.

Jarvis was also on target with the conversion that followed but, despite the visitors enjoying good spells of possession, winger Cian Aherne grabbed his first try after 26 minutes.

The home pack were held up and from the resulting five-metre scrum, John Cooney shifted the ball quickly in a move which ended with Aherne dotting down out wide.

It was an extremely open tie at this stage and even though Jarvis missed a couple of place-kicking opportunities into the breeze, he was the orchestrator of his side's second try three minutes before the break.

Jarvis tore through a rare gap in the Lansdowne defence and a superbly-timed pass put winger Cian O'Shea over in the corner for arguably the try of the day.

This looked like it would offer them plenty of momentum, but Ronaldson managed to restore parity in time for the interval (15-15) with a penalty from a tight angle on the right.

This turned out to be a crucial score as it gave Mike Ruddock's men the confidence to push on at the start of the second period.

A converted try from Ireland Under-20 centre Mark Roche four minutes in, after scrum half Cooney had gone close, edged the Dubliners back into the ascendancy.

The seven-pointer threw down the gauntlet for Garryowen to come out and attack the league leaders but try as they might, they were finding it difficult to break down a well-organised Lansdowne rearguard.

Indeed, it looked like there was every chance that Lansdowne would be the next to add to the scoreboard, and this is precisely what happened with seven minutes remaining. They went through the phases and Aherne eventually broke through for his 10th try of the league campaign.

This pretty much sealed a five-point return for Lansdowne, but an intercept try did follow through winger Matt Healy who darted away from his own 10-metre line in the 79th minute.

Powerful lock Aaron McCloskey dotted down for a brave Garryowen outfit deep into injury time, but it proved to be too little, too late for the Light Blues.

Referee: George Clancy (IRFU)