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Lansdowne Move Four Points Clear

Lansdowne Move Four Points Clear

Division 1A leaders Lansdowne, beaten on their last visit to Limerick by Young Munster, opened a significant four-point gap at the top of the table when they proved far too strong for a disappointing Garryowen team at Dooradoyle.

The only disappointment for the winners was that they failed to score a fourth try but denying Garryowen a losing bonus point will be some consolation.

The Lansdowne forwards were totally on top throughout and with a thimbleful of luck the visitors should have scored a bonus point given the amount of chances they created.

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The only opportunity afforded Garryowen came from a second half penalty which curled wide as Lansdowne, minus a few regulars, were on top all the way.

Garryowen boss Tom Tierney also had to cope without a number of frontline players – his list of absentees included top-scoring out-half Jamie Gavin, team captain David Sherry and fellow back rowers Barry O'Mahony and Shane Buckley.

Mike Ruddock's men set the pace from the very start and might well have snatched a try inside two minutes. From play close to the Garryowen line the ball squirmed free but a Garryowen defender just got the touchdown to deny the visitors.

The Lansdowne pack dictated matters in the tight and it came as no surprise when Garryowen were penalised to the left of the uprights after 18 minutes. Craig Ronaldson opened the scoring with a fine kick into the swirling wind.

Lansdowne doubled their lead six minutes later. They drove several times for the line in the process of which referee Alain Rolland twice indicated penalties for Garryowen who were lucky not to be reduced to 14 men for persistent offside. Ronaldson duly landed the penalty.

Lansdowne kept piling on the pressure with out-half Ronaldson leading the way with well-timed inside passes to his back row forwards.

Matters got worse for Garryowen after 31 minutes. A delightful reverse pass by scrum half John Cooney sent full-back and captain Ross McCarron in beside the posts and Ronaldson converted to make it 13-0.

Four minutes before the interval Lansdowne struck again. This time they moved the ball from just inside the Garryowen half. A gap appeared and it was winger Rob McCarthy who was sent clear from the 22 to touch down far out and make it 18-0 at the interval.

Garryowen's only real scoring chance came via a penalty but on a day when nothing went right for them it curled wide.

Lansdowne had the final say when industrious number 8 Ron Boucher grabbed a third try on a great afternoon for the Dubliners.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Lansdowne head coach Mike Ruddock said: “We took it to them in the pack and as a team we worked hard and deserved the win.

“We did very well against the wind although our plan had been to play against it had we won the toss and try and build a lead.

“We knew we had to carry and that’s what we did. We’re a very good carrying team and that’s why we’re the top points scorers in the league.

“But nothing is won in January. We have a tough one away to Dolphin next week and then it’s Garryowen again after that. We're not disappointed at not getting the bonus point. We'd have settled for this before the game.”

Referee: Alain Rolland (IRFU)