Rónan Kelleher bags hat-trick as Leinster turn on the style to trounce Ospreys at RDS
Leinster 53 The Ospreys 5
Rónan Kelleher bagged a hat-trick of tries at the RDS to move defending champions Leinster five points clear at the summit of the Guinness PRO14 Conference A table.
In their first home game of the new campaign, Leo Cullen’s side comfortably secured a bonus-point triumph against an underwhelming Ospreys outfit.
Having missed out on Joe Schmidt’s World Cup squad, Ross Byrne and Devin Toner will be highly-motivated figures during this opening block of games.
Byrne broke the deadlock with an early penalty before his delicate crossfield kick on 11 minutes presented Fergus McFadden with a simple score in the right-corner. There was a relentless edge to Leinster’s attacking play and a second try inevitably followed for the hosts.
Will Connors burst through a gap to place the blues on the front-foot and then released the raiding Kelleher for his maiden provincial try. Despite the best endeavours of their Celtic rivals, Joe Tomane’s clinical finish propelled Leinster towards an unassailable 22-0 interval cushion.
They had maximum points within their sights and when the Welsh visitors were turned over four minutes after the resumption, Kelleher was on hand to claim his second try.
It proved to be a night to remember for the St Michael’s College prodigy as he completed his hat-trick by breaking off a line-out maul in the 52nd-minute.
Max Deegan was one of several players to enter the fray for Leinster and he added his name to the scoresheet with a powerful five-metre drive over the whitewash.
Ross Byrne later made way for younger brother Harry – who joined fellow replacement Michael Milne in grabbing his first Leinster try inside the closing-quarter.
Ospreys finally opened their account with a slick Luke Morgan five-pointer, but it was scant consolation for Allen Clarke’s charges in the end.
Scorers – Leinster: R Kelleher 3 tries, H Byrne try, con, F McFadden, J Tomane, M Deegan, M Milne try each, R Byrne pen, 4 cons. Ospreys: L Morgan try.
Leinster: H Keenan; F McFadden, R O’Loughlin, J Tomane (C O’Brien 61), J Lowe; R Byrne (H Byrne 56), J Gibson-Park (R Osborne 56); P Dooley (M Milne 52), R Kelleher (J Tracy 52), M Bent (V Abdaladze 52); D Toner, S Fardy; J Murphy, W Connors (R Molony 64), C Doris (M Deegan 52).
Ospreys: C Evans; L Morgan, S Williams (T Williams 68), T Thomas-Wheeler, K Giles; L Price (H Dirksen 56), S Venter (M Aubrey 61); R Jones (G Thomas 51), S Parry, T Botha (G Gajion 51); D Lydiate, L Ashley (B Glynn 36 (S Otten h/t)); O Cracknell, S Cross, D Baker (G Evans 27).
Referee: S Berry (SARU).