Saturday 16 December 2017

Earls kicks Students to title

UCD 28
Lansdowne 27

It promised to be a tight final -- and that's exactly what ensued in this encounter in Coolmine yesterday afternoon.

A terrific kicking display from out-half Niall Earls ultimately proved the difference. Once Earls nailed the first penalty on five minutes, the Clonskeagh outfit kept in front throughout.

Injury forced UCD prop and Ireland U-20 James Tracy out but his replacement Rory Hannon had a huge impact. He barrelled over for his side's first try after Alan O'Connor had off-loaded. Craig Ronaldson's boot kept Lansdowne in the game.

With the score at 14-12, David Lynch went over to extend the Students' lead early in the second half. Harry Kennedy clawed Lansdowne back before an Earls penalty put eight between them. Neal Cullen went over for Lansdowne to leave the minimum in it, but it was too little too late.

Lansdowne -- C Toolan (B Geraghty 20); N Cullen, J McMahon, H Kennedy, D Leyden; C Ronaldson, P O'Driscoll (A Byrne 79); S Caldbeck, P Reilly (E Lewis 79), J O'Connell; T Beirne, R Farrell (C O'Donnell 58); D Heffernan, C Butterworth (A Hoban 52), B Moylett.

UCD -- D Costello; J Egan (S O'Meara 70), A Boyle, D Lynch, B Doyle; N Earls, P Du Toit; J Tracy (R Hannon 16), D Burke, R Harrison; A O'Connor (R Cronin 72), E MacMahon; P Dix, M McGroarty (L Gaffney 75), E Joyce.

Ref -- D Connolly (IRFU)

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