Sunday 26 January 2020

Quinlan guides Con into final showdown with Lansdowne

Lansdowne 36 Garryowen 19

Lansdowne coach Mike Ruddock. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Lansdowne coach Mike Ruddock. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile Sportsdesk

Lansdowne's potent mix of pace and power saw them progress to their first final since 2015. Jet-heeled winger Adam Leavy started and finished the try-scoring, bagging a well-taken brace on the same pitch that his older brother Dan has starred on for Leinster and Ireland this season.

Table toppers at the end of league phase and boosted by last week's Bateman Cup title win, Lansdowne outscored the Light Blues by five tries to one. The Limerick men deserved to be closer, but brothers Neil and Liam Cronin combined for their only points, including the latter's 75th-minute try.

Mike Ruddock's side fell behind to an 11th minute penalty from Neil Cronin, but Leavy replied with a smart finish in the left corner.

Scott Deasy and Cronin traded penalties as it remained nip and tuck up to half-time, Lansdowne holding onto a 8-6 lead.

However, just like the previous Saturday's Bateman Cup decider against Cork Constitution, the headquarters club moved clear in the third quarter.

Scrum half Alan Bennie sniped over for a crucial try. The visitors didn't panic, Cronin cutting gap to 15-12 after Lansdowne were penalised in the scrum again and then for a high tackle.

The hosts turned to their well-drilled pack to widen the margin, winning a 56th-minute penalty try after Garryowen collapsed a maul, and hard-working hooker Tyrone Moran deservedly added a fourth try soon after.

Fresh legs off the bench inspired a late Garryowen revival, with replacement hooker Liam Cronin muscling over to reduce the arrears to 29-19, but a turnover in injury-time allowed Connacht Academy youngster Leavy to have the final say.

Cork Con's Tomas Quinlan kicked 17 points against Terenure. Photo: Sportsfile
Cork Con's Tomas Quinlan kicked 17 points against Terenure. Photo: Sportsfile

Scorers - Lansdowne: A Leavy 2 tries, A Bennie, T Moran, try each; Penalty try; S Deasy 4 cons, pen; Garryowen: L Cronin try; N Cronin 4 pens, con.

Lansdowne: E Mills; F Horan, H Brennan, F Cleary, A Leavy; S Deasy, A Bennie; M Mulhall, T Moran, I Prendiville, J O'Rourke, J Dwan, J O'Sullivan, A Conneely, W Earle. Replacements: J Rael, P Dooley, G McGrath, B Fitzpatrick, C Rock, I Fitzpatrick, M O'Keeffe.

Garryowen: A O'Byrne; L Coombes, D Johnston, D McCarthy, B Fitzgerald; J Gavin, N Cronin; N Horan, D Barron, A Keating, S O'Connor, D Moore, T Ferguson, J Daly, D Ryan. Replacements: L Cronin, B Rowley, S Rennison, M Wilson, P Clancy, JP Phelan, B Faloon.


Terenure 15 Cork Con 22

Defending champions Cork Constitution dug deep to book their place in next Sunday's AIL Division 1A decider. With out-half Tomas Quinlan kicking 17 points, Brian Hickey's charges overcame the stubborn challenge of an ambitious Terenure side.

Tries in each half by Robbie Carroll and Jake Swaine kept 'Nure in the reckoning, but key scores from Quinlan and replacement back row Evan Mintern either side of the interval proved crucial for Con.

Quinlan put the visitors ahead with a penalty before 'Nure hit back with a superb try from Carroll. Mark O'Neill missed the touchline conversion, and two more penalties from the reliable Quinlan gave Con a 9-5 advantage at the break.

After O'Neill cancelled out another Quinlan three-pointer after the restart, Munster prospect Mintern entered the fray to put the Leesiders firmly in the driving seat.

When scrum possession on the left was switched towards the far wing, the powerful back rower was in the right place to drive over the line.

The outstanding Quinlan landed his fifth penalty of the game in the 71st minute, giving Con a 22-8 buffer.

Tenacious Terenure were not prepared to go down without a fight, however, and winger Swaine was picked out for a simple finish in the right corner.

O'Neill added the extras to bring the deficit down to seven points, but despite losing prop Ger Sweeney to the sin-bin, Constitution doggedly held firm to set up an Aviva Stadium rematch with Lansdowne, who beat them 32-12 in the previous Saturday's Bateman Cup final at Temple Hill.

Scorers - Terenure College: R Carroll, J Swaine try each; M O'Neill pen, con. Cork Constitution: E Mintern try; T Quinlan 5 cons, pen.

Terenure College: M Byrne; J Swaine, M Hiney, R Carroll, S Coghlan Murray; M O'Neill, T Schmidt; C Madden, R Smyth, O Heffernan, M Melia, A Thompson, C Deans, R Duke, E Joyce. Replacements: A Clarkin, S Jooste, N Lalor, P Thornton, K O'Neill, K Konrad, J O'Donoghue.

Cork Constitution: L O'Connell; JJ O'Neill, A McHenry, N Kenneally (capt), R Jermyn; T Quinlan, G Hurley; B Quinlan, V O'Brien, G Sweeney, C Kindregan, B Hayes, J McSwiney, R O'Neill, L Cahill. Replacements: J McHenry, D Murphy, G Duffy, G Higgins, J Higgins, S Duffy, E Mintern.

Ref: Sean Gallagher (IRFU)

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