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Two-Try McSwiney Stars In Lansdowne’s Bonus Point Win

Two-Try McSwiney Stars In Lansdowne’s Bonus Point Win

A strong start to both halves paved the way for Lansdowne’s bonus point victory over a gallant Young Munster side on Sunday afternoon, as the headquarters club kept place with leaders Terenure College at the top of Division 1A.

Mike Ruddock's men beat Terenure in dramatic fashion on the Aviva Stadium's back pitch last week and although a comprehensive victory was on the cards for large spells of this contest, they had to dig deep once again on home soil.
 
Young Munster had started the weekend in third place, but were leapfrogged in the table by Clontarf and Old Belvedere following their respective results on Saturday.

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The Cookies have already recorded four wins in the current campaign, but were eager to bounce back from a disappointing reversal away to St Mary's College in the previous round.
 
However, they were left with a mountain climb from a very early stage here, as a barnstorming opening from Lansdowne left the Cookies trailing by 14 points after just ten minutes.

Flanker Joe McSwiney produced a man-of-the-match display for Lansdowne. He raced in behind the posts for their opening try in the seventh minute after blocking down an attempted clearance by Willie Staunton.

Full-back Scott Deasy tapped over the simple conversion and from the very next attack of the game, the hosts doubled their advantage.


 
Ireland Under-20 international Conor McKeon instigated this move with a clever kick into the hands of Mark Roche. The industrious centre, who has come back early from injury, embarked on a mazy run through the heart of the Young Munster defence and Adam Boland's well-timed offload saw lock Stephen Gardiner cut inside from the right wing for a magnificent seven-pointer.
 
The signs were extremely ominous for Munsters at this juncture but with the events on the Aviva Stadium's main pitch the day before in mind, Lansdowne realised that they could not afford to rest on their laurels.
 
The visitors were seeing more of the ball as the first half wore on and through the likes of Shane O'Leary and Gearoid Lyons, they certainly posed a significant attacking threat.
 
Munsters failed to capitalise on the sin-binning of Lansdowne winger John Coleman, but following the yellow card issued to their own lock, Tom Goggin, just before the break, they finally broke the Lansdowne resistance.
 
A brilliant catch by Eamon Carr inside the Lansdowne half suddenly put the visitors on the front foot, and thanks to a neat pass by the aforementioned Staunton, replacement Derry O'Connor dived over the line moments after his introduction off the bench.
 
A Lyons conversion ensured that only seven points (14-7) separated the sides at interval. Yet, just two minutes after the restart, Lansdowne managed to restore their 14 point cushion.

Centre Tom Farrell crossed the whitewash on this occasion – owing largely to excellent build-up play again by Roche – before a cracking conversion from the left by Deasy kept the scoreboard ticking away.
 
A bonus point now seemed inevitable for Lansdowne and after McKeon kicked for touch on 49 minutes, the magnificent McSwiney drove over for a converted score from the lineout maul.
 
Munsters were struggling to cope with the power of the Lansdowne pack, but moving into the final quarter they started to build some much-needed momentum. The home defence held firm initially, only for referee Eddie Hogan O'Connell to award a 62nd minute penalty try at the end of a long spell inside the Lansdowne 22.
 
This provided a major lifeline to John Staunton's charges and with Boland joining Jack Dilger in the sin-bin in the 65th minute, Lansdowne found themselves temporarily reduced to 13 men.

The Cookies were able to table immediate advantage of this numerical supremacy, as scrum half Rob Guerin grounded the ball at the back of a well-orchestrated maul.
 
Another Lyons conversion set-up a nerve-wracking finale for Lansdowne. However, even though Young Munster had plenty of possession late on, Ruddock's side eventually held out for a sixth win of the league campaign.

Referee: Eddie Hogan O'Connell (IRFU)