Friday 17 November 2017

Joey Carbery stars as Leinster left to count cost of bruising win

Leinster 39 Edinburgh 10

Leinster's Dan Leavy goes over to score his side's fifth try despite the attention of Magnus Bradbury of Edinburgh. Photo:Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Leinster's Dan Leavy goes over to score his side's fifth try despite the attention of Magnus Bradbury of Edinburgh. Photo:Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Leinster went top of the Pro12 for a few hours at least, but it came at a huge cost as Leo Cullen lost five players to injury - four of whom were forced off by the time the second half began.

Josh van der Flier damaged his AC joint and the early indications are not good as he looks to be a major doubt for Ireland's clash against France next weekend.

Leinster's Adam Byrne is tackled by Edinburgh's Jason Tovey during the Guinness PRO12 Round 15 match at the RDS Arena. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Leinster's Adam Byrne is tackled by Edinburgh's Jason Tovey during the Guinness PRO12 Round 15 match at the RDS Arena. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

The Leinster flanker only played 25 minutes in the last two weeks but his search for more game-time was curtailed after just 13 minutes when two Edinburgh players came crashing down on his shoulder.

Dan Leavy will see this as a huge opportunity to stake his claim and he was outstanding when he came off the bench. Leavy helped himself to a try to add to the two each that Joey Carbery and Barry Daly scored before Bryan Byrne got over late on.

An early head injury ended Dominic Ryan's game as Leinster lost two of their starting back-rows inside the opening 13 minutes.

Dave Kearney hit the deck after 25 but gingerly got back to his feet which was just as well as Rory O'Loughlin (AC joint) would soon follow Van der Flier and Ryan to the treatment room. Kearney returned last week after 16 weeks out but he didn't come back out for the second half as Cullen reported that he too had suffered a head injury.

Leinster's Bryan Byrne goes over to score his side's sixth try despite the tackle of Edinburgh's Magnus Bradbury. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Leinster's Bryan Byrne goes over to score his side's sixth try despite the tackle of Edinburgh's Magnus Bradbury. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ross Byrne replaced O'Loughlin which meant that Carbery switched to full-back. This was Carbery's first start since December.

He showed glimpses of his quality in the midst of the carnage but only getting 32 minutes in his favoured position wasn't ideal as he looks to force his way back into Ireland squad. Yet, the 21-year-old still found a way to make his presence felt. Carbery made his 48th-minute try look easy but then again, so do all players of that quality.

In between, Ryan and Van der Flier's injuries, Barry Daly got over in the corner to set Leinster on their way and it was a try that was down to a powerful Leavy charge. Carbery extended the lead with a penalty but Duncan Weir cancelled it out when he fired over one of his own.

That left the home side 8-3 to the good at the break but having been forced to make four substitutions before the second half even started, Cullen was already counting the cost.

Carbery's try eight minutes after the restart eased the frustrations and he repeated the trick five minutes later when he turned on the afterburners after a flowing move ripped the Edinburgh defence to shreds. Ross Byrne took over the kicking duties and added the extras.

Noel Reid shipped a heavy knock to the head in the build-up and was replaced with Luke McGrath filling in on the wing. Leinster didn't have to wait long for the bonus point as Daly got over for his second try. The demolition continued as Leavy powered over and Byrne added the extras to make it 32-3.

Duncan Weir converted his own try with 10 minutes remaining to give the sole Edinburgh supporter at the RDS something to cheer. But a minute later, Leinster went down the other end and Bryan Byrne crashed over for the sixth try that Ross Byrne again converted.

Leinster finished with 14 players as Carbery went off with cramp but by that stage, he was already hoping that he had done enough to get himself back into contention with Ireland.

Leinster - Z Kirchner (J Gibson-Park 52); D Kearney (A Byrne h-t), R O'Loughlin (R Byrne 32), N Reid (Kirchner 54), B Daly; J Carbery, L McGrath (capt); P Dooley (A Porter 59), J Tracy, M Ross (M Bent 44); R Molony, M McCarthy (B Byrne 63); D Ryan (D Leavy 10), J van der Flier (M Kearney 13), J Conan.

Edinburgh - G Bryce; D Hoyland, C Dean, P Burleigh (J Tovey 54), T Brown (B Kinghorn h-t); D Weir, S Hidalgo-Clyne (N Fowles 59); J Cosgrove (D Appiah 18-26, h-t), N Cochrane (capt) (G Turner 29), M McCallum (N Beavon 70); F McKenzie (L Carmichael 59), B Toolis (G Gilchrist 59); M Bradbury, J Ritchie, C du Preez.

Ref - I Davies (WRU)

Irish Independent

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