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Leinster ‘A’ Crush Carmarthen In Ten-Try Win

Leinster ‘A’ Crush Carmarthen In Ten-Try Win

A hat-trick of tries from the outstanding Cian Kelleher was the highlight as defending champions Leinster ‘A’ got their British & Irish Cup Pool 5 campaign back on track with a ten-try 67-12 demolition of Carmarthen Quins.

Leinster 'A' head coach Girvan Dempsey opted to make a total of seven changes to his starting line-up in the wake of their 26-24 defeat to the same opposition on October 25.

The Blues had looked set to extend their unbeaten run in the competition to 19 games when they held a commanding 21-3 half-time lead in that encounter, only for the resurgent West Wales outfit to forge a dramatic second half comeback.

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Buoyed by this morale-boosting triumph, Quins started this game positively. Several attacking phases kept the hosts on the back foot early on, before disciplined defensive work eventually turned over possession.

Leinster 'A' forced their way into the visitors' half and with eight minutes gone on the clock, out-half Cathal Marsh opened the scoring from a 35-metre penalty.

Marsh had produced a kicking masterclass for St Mary's College against Young Munster in the Ulster Bank League a fortnight ago, and he played an integral part in the province's first try of the contest just four minutes later.

His neat offload had set Sam Coghlan Murray free on the right hand side, but instead of spreading the ball towards the corner, the UCD man opted to drive towards the line himself. He was stopped short but after the ball was recycled, a neat pass by Marsh saw outside centre Brendan Macken touch down.

Marsh converted before Quins quickly forced their way back into the game with a five-pointer of their own in the 16th minute.

When an attempted Tom Daly pass was intercepted by out-half Daniel Jones, Quins suddenly had an overlap and although Leinster 'A' initially stood their ground, Rhys Williams squeezed through in the right corner for an unconverted try.

This only offered a temporary reprieve to the visitors, though, as a razor-sharp move inside the Quins 22 was finished off by Mick McGrath towards the end of the first quarter.

Clontarf's McGrath has displayed impressive form in the GUINNESS PRO12 and he was joined in the try-scoring stakes by full-back Cian Kelleher. Leinster 'A' once again spread to ball effectively across the Carmarthen line and with a drop of the shoulder, Kelleher crossed the whitewash in clinical fashion.

Everything was going to plan for the home team up to this point and after linking up with his second row partner Ross Molony (who captained the province following the late withdrawal of Luke McGrath), Gavin Thornbury breezed through for the bonus point try just before the interval.

With 24 points separating the teams (29-5), it was difficult to see a way back for Quins. The 44th minute sin-binning of half-time replacement Steve Crosbie did offer an incentive, however, and at the end of an extended spell close to the home line, referee Craig Maxwell-Keys awarded a penalty try to Max Howells' charges.

A simple conversion followed from Daniel Jones, but it was not long before rampant Leinster 'A' struck again. McGrath completed his brace thanks to neat link-up play with Marsh and Macken on 49 minutes and before their opponents had time to readjust, Kelleher grabbed his second following excellent approach work by Dan Leavy.

It was fast becoming an exercise in damage limitation for Carmarthen. Thanks to the introduction of fresh legs from the replacements bench, Leinster 'A' continued to search for avenues to exploit. A lineout maul was finished off emphatically by replacement prop Jeremy Loughman on the hour mark.

With 15 minutes left, Tom Farrell, who had taken over from Macken in the Leinster 'A' midfield, also got his name on the scoresheet.

Eight tries is exceptional scoring on any day, but with Matt O'Connor, Leo Cullen and Richie Murphy all in attendance, these Leinster youngsters were in no mood to ease off.

Kelleher burst through a host of bodies to secure his hat-trick in spectacular style and from their last meaningful attack of the game, replacement back rower Nick Timoney dotted down to complete a near flawless outing for the Blues.

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (England)