Ronaldson’s Left Boot Does It For Lansdowne
Pens: Josh Glynn 3
Try: Cian Aherne; Con: Craig Ronaldson; Pens: Craig Ronaldson 3
Daniel Riordan; Josh Glynn, John Kennedy, Aidan Wynne, David Mongan; Gearoid McDonald, Fergal Lawlor; Gavin Duffy, Paddy Hogan, Pa O’Regan, Dean Moore, David White, Josh Eden-Whatiri, Michael Oyuga, Jack Conan.Replacements used: Aaron Sheehan for McDonald, Adam Howard for Duffy (both half-time), Kevin Buckley for Hogan (49 mins), Colin Mallen for White (51), Gavin Duffy for Howard (64).
Ross McCarron (capt); Cian Aherne, Shane Gahan, Sean Carey, Matt Healy; Craig Ronaldson, Paddy O’Driscoll; Jack O’Connell, Steve Collins, Martin Moore, Willie Earle, Tadhg Beirne, Clive Ross, Charlie Butterworth, Ron Boucher.Replacements used: Darren O’Reilly for Moore (40+4 mins), Dan Mannion for Earle (64)
An 11-point haul from out-half Craig Ronaldson, allied to Cian Aherne’s first half try, proved decisive for Lansdowne in this Ulster Bank League opener at Anglesea Road.
The visitors started this Dublin derby brightly and almost got through for a try in the opening moments, with Old Belvedere managing to press them back just in time.Yet, Lansdowne forced a fourth minute penalty which was expertly converted from the right flank by out-half Craig Ronaldson, a recent triallist with English club Bath.
‘Belvo soon settled into the contest though and they were level by the 11th minute when winger Josh Glynn coolly slotted a 35-metre penalty – moments after he had narrowly missed a similar effort.
This should have helped to calm the ‘Belvo nerves, but instead it was Lansdowne who pushed on again. They registered the only try of the night through speedy winger Cian Aherne, who found space to break through the opposition cover and touch down underneath the posts.
Ronaldson converted as Mike Ruddock’s charges opened up a seven-point gap. Glynn did have a chance to reduce the arrears with penalties in the 23rd and 26th minutes respectively, but he came up short on both occasions.
Eight minutes before the break, Old Belvedere full-back and captain Daniel Riordan was forced into touch by the Lansdowne rearguard just as he looked set to score in the left corner.
Glynn did finally get it right deep into injury-time, however, as his successful kick from out on the right meant that Lansdowne’s lead was down to four points – 10-6 – at the turnaround.
Following a lively and open first half, the start of the second period was fairly low key and scrappy. Ronaldson missed an excellent chance to increase his side’s advantage when he kicked to the right of the posts with a 48th minute penalty.
This was certainly a let-off for ‘Belvo, and they took full advantage on the hour mark when Glynn brought the margin down to the bare minimum with a tricky penalty from the right.
This cast some doubts in the minds of the Lansdowne players, and ‘Belvo were starting to gather momentum as the game entered the final quarter.
Lansdowne held their nerve, working a penalty from 30 metres on 69 minutes which was kicked between the posts with conviction by the reliable Ronaldson.
The dynamic number 10 follow this up with an easy three points from a close-in kick with three minutes to go. It proved to be enough for Lansdowne to hold out, despite a late opportunity for ‘Belvo replacement Aaron Sheehan.
Referee: Stuart Gaffikin (IRFU)