Wednesday 24 July 2019

Lansdowne's job done


Winger Conor Hayes scored a 76th-minute bonus point try for Lansdown. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Winger Conor Hayes scored a 76th-minute bonus point try for Lansdown. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile Sportsdesk

Lansdowne booked a home semi-final in the Ulster Bank League Division 1A play-offs after edging out Young Munster 27-24 in a bruising encounter at Greenfields. Mike Ruddock's men did almost all of the damage in a 24-point first-half salvo, which included a brace of tries from influential hooker Tyrone Moran, but the Cookies pushed them all the way, with Scott Deasy's 66th-minute penalty just enough to get the table-toppers over the finish line.

Munsters found it tough to halt the Lansdowne pack's driving and carrying early on, the visitors gaining the upper-hand as Moran crossed for two tries, putting 17 points between the sides.

The game was back in the melting pot in the latter stages as further pressure from Munsters, which led to a yellow card for Lansdowne full-back Eamonn Mills, yielded a 76th-minute bonus point try for wing Conor Hayes, who played for the Ireland under 19s last week.

With the conversion missed, the gap remained at three points fas Lansdowne, who also lost scrum half Alan Bennie to a late sin-binning, hung on in determined fashion.

Sixth-placed Munsters can still make the play-offs, but they trail Garryowen by five points and need a dream set of results in next Saturday's final round.

Cork Constitution heaved a collective sigh of relief as a late missed drop goal attempt from Terenure College saw the Leesiders hold on for a breathless 30-27 win at Temple Hill. It was a hugely important result for Con, who are now second in the table - level on 56 points with a leapfrogged Terenure - and a nose in front in pursuit of home advantage in the semi-finals. However, the defending champions have to go to play-off-chasing Clontarf next Saturday in a repeat of last year's final, knowing that they must at least match Terenure's result at home to Dublin University.

Buccaneers went down fighting against Garryowen but the Pirates' relegation to Division 1B was confirmed with a 22-10 defeat at Dubarry Park.

Not even the presence of returning winger Jordan Conroy, whose prolific try-scoring exploits were key to Buccs' promotion last season, could inspire Darin Claasen's struggling side who now cannot catch second-from-bottom St Mary's College.

Ireland under 20 hooker Diarmuid Barron picked up his second successive brace of tries for Garryowen, who remain in possession of the final semi-final berth and take a one-point lead over fifth-placed Clontarf into next weekend's final round.

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