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Six-Try Lansdowne Sweep St. Mary’s Aside

Six-Try Lansdowne Sweep St. Mary’s Aside

Lansdowne issued a serious statement of intent at Templeville Road tonight, running out 38-20 winners as St. Mary’s College succumbed to their fifth defeat of the Ulster Bank League season.

Both sides entered this contest with designs on returning to winning ways. Lansdowne suffered a surprise home defeat at the hands of UCD last week, while St. Mary's were on the receiving end of a comprehensive 33-13 beating by Ballynahinch.
Yet, whereas the visitors occupied third spot in the Division 1A table (just one point behind reigning champions Clontarf), the Templeogue men found themselves in a far more precarious position.

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To date, Peter Smyth's side have registered just one league victory – a 14-10 success over Old Belvedere on September 27 – and were second-from-bottom with just six points to their name prior to kick-off.

With this mind, they were hoping to make a strong start to the proceedings. However, it was Mike Ruddock's men who came out with all guns blazing. Following a quick lay-off by young out-half Conor McKeon, right winger Cian Kelleher (pictured above) discovered a gap to cross over for the opening try of the evening.
Having supplied the assist, McKeon then added a routine conversion from in front of the posts to give Lansdowne a healthy platform.

Indeed, the former Gonzaga College student had opportunities to increase the Dublin 4 outfit's lead from place-kicks in the 8th and 11th minutes respectively. He was off target on both occasions, though, and as the first quarter wore on Mary's began to make more of an impact on play.

Disciplined Lansdowne defending kept the hosts out on 14 minutes, but just two minutes later Nick Timoney, who captained Blackrock College to Schools Cup glory last March, was on hand to score from a maul on the right wing.
The subsequent conversion was from an awkward angle for a right-footed kicker, but the ever dependable Gavin Dunne restored parity by splitting the posts in confident fashion.

This was precisely the kind of response Smyth was hoping to see from his players, but it was their opponents who continued to enjoy the majority of possession.
Lansdowne centres Tom Daly and Tom Farrell were making significant breaks from deep, and Kelleher also remained a threat. The Mary's rearguard held firm initially but after McKeon opted for touch nine minutes before the interval, flanker Aaron Conneely was in the right place to finish off an incisive move.
Scott Deasy
added the extras before a close range penalty from full-back Dunne saw Mary's narrow the gap to 14-10 in time for the break.
The game was still very much in the melting pot but the Lansdowne gained a numerical advantage five minutes into the second half – hooker Sean McCarthy was sent to the sin-bin as Mary's were aiming to prevent another Lansdowne try.
The introduction of replacement Rory O'Donovan helped the hosts to turn over the resulting scrum, however, and eight minutes later, Dunne's third successful place-kick reduced Lansdowne's cushion to a solitary point.
This looked like setting up a tantalising finale, but Lansdowne chose the third quarter to put crucial daylight between the teams. Paddy O'Driscoll picked up the ball from a scrum and offloaded quickly to his half-back partner McKeon, who put Farrell through on the right hand side for a timely try.

Deasy converted with the aid of the woodwork. This proved to be a hugely deflating score for Mary's to concede, and after 67 minutes a sweeping passage of play ended with winger Eoghan Quinn securing the bonus point for Lansdowne.
The 2013 league winners showed no signs of easing off in the closing stages either, and they emphasised their superiority with clinical scores from Joe McSwiney and Farrell again.
With tempers starting to fray late on, referee Olly Hodges sent Brian McGovern of Mary's and Lansdowne's Brian Moylett to the sin-bin following an off-the-ball fracas. This was an isolated in what was generally a sporting game, which ended with a consolation try for Mary's number 10 Cathal Marsh.

Referee: Olly Hodges (IRFU)