Saturday 21 April 2018

Healy inspires Lansdowne rout

Lansdowne 48 Shannon 7
AIl Div 1a

Kieran Rooney

TWO tries in the opening eight minutes set Lansdowne up for a comprehensive success on the back pitch at the Aviva Stadium.

Lansdowne went on to score four more tries, the bonus-point victory moving them to the top of the table. In complete contrast, Shannon are bottom after conceding 84 points in their opening two games.

So, already it looks as though the most successful team in the history of the competition are again going to struggle to avoid relegation.

Lansdowne, quite clearly, have no such concerns. Coach Mike Ruddock has set a target of finishing in the top four after coming fifth last season.

On the evidence of their first-half performance yesterday, they are in with a definite chance. They play a good brand of rugby with lots of pace out wide. They blew Shannon away in the first half, scoring four tries to lead 32-7 at the interval.

Their Connacht-contracted left-wing Matt Healy was particularly impressive, going over for two tries. Flanker Charlie Butterworth and centre Sean Carey were the other try-scorers in that first half.

Out-half Craig Ronaldson landed three conversions and two penalties, while Shannon's only response was a try from flanker John Shine, converted by Rob Guerin.

Shannon defended a lot better in the second half, but they still conceded two more late tries through Lansdowne skipper Ross McCarron and substitute John Coleman.

"We played some good rugby in the first half," said a delighted Ruddock. "Maybe we took our foot off the gas a bit at half-time but credit to them for not dropping their heads.

"Overall though we're very pleased to have won our opening two games."

Shannon player-coach Stephen Keogh believes that their next outing at home to Dolphin will be huge.

"We've lost our first two games, shipping a lot of points, so we will have to regroup as a team and as a club," he stressed. "We've lost some players and have some, including myself, out injured, so it has been very difficult.

"We were a bit shellshocked in the first half today, but at least we defended well and showed a lot of heart after the interval."

Lansdowne -- R McCarron (capt); C Aherne, S Gahan, S Carey, M Healy; C Ronaldson, P O'Driscoll; J O'Connell, S Collins, D O'Reilly, W Earle, T Beirne, C Ross, C Butterworth, R Boucher. Reps used: T Sexton, R Liddington, M Feeley, M Walsh, J Coleman.

Shannon -- J Loxton; C O'Neill, R Mullane (Capt), B Smith, M Leonard; R Guerin, M Darcy; G McNamara, J Cronin, K Griffin, J Sherin, F Walsh, J Murphy, S Shine, D Heffernan. Reps used: L O'Dea, A O'Brien, E McLoughlin, A Slivepcevic, M Culhane.

Ref -- O Hodges.

Irish Independent

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