LANSDOWNE 29 CLONTARF 28, Aviva Stadium back pitch (played on Friday)
Scorers: Lansdowne: Tries: Darragh Murphy, James Reynolds; Cons: Craig Ronaldson 2; Pens: Craig Ronaldson 5
Clontarf: Tries: Sean Kearns, Tom Byrne, Matt D’Arcy; Cons: Sean Kearns 2; Pens: Sean Kearns 3
HT: Lansdowne 16 Clontarf 12
James Reynolds bagged a 82nd-minute converted try to give Lansdowne a dramatic 29-28 victory over Clontarf in their Friday Night Lights fixture.
Craig Ronaldson kicked a terrific haul of 19 points, including a decisive last-gasp conversion, to steer Lansdowne past a ‘Tarf side that had 18 excellent points from their goal-kicking winger Sean Kearns.
Preceding the arrival of Storm Dennis to these shores, this Dublin derby was played out in near perfect conditions. Ronaldson got the ball rolling with a third-minute penalty, before Clontarf fired back with the opening try of the game.
Having missed the target with an earlier penalty, Kearns completed an incisive move on the left and converted his own try for a 7-3 lead. Ronaldson reduced the arrears at the second attempt, nailing a 23rd minute penalty, but ‘Tarf were over the whitewash again just shy of the half hour mark.
Following strong carries by Cormac Daly and Ivan Soroka into the 22, it was flanker Tom Byrne who dotted down in fine style for an unconverted score. However, it was Lansdowne who surged into a 16-12 lead by half-time.
Ronaldson’s left boot split the posts in the 33rd minute, and in sin-binned lock Daly’s absence, ‘Tarf leaked a maul try to Lansdowne number 8 Darragh Murphy. Ronaldson sent over a superb conversion from the touchline to put four points between the sides.
To the north Dubliners’ credit, they coped admirably while down to 14 men and a Kearns penalty made it a one-point game on the restart. Ronaldson cancelled out that kick, only for Lansdowne loosehead Martin Mulhall to be yellow carded soon after.
‘Tarf swiftly profited from their numerical advantage when centre Matt D’Arcy burst through a gap for a 61st-minute converted try. Ronaldson’s fifth penalty success of the night restored parity at 22-all, but ‘Tarf edged back ahead thanks to successive penalty strikes from Kearns.
Nonetheless, just like their most recent outing against Terenure College, Lansdowne snatched the result right at the death. Winger Reynolds latched onto a skip pass for an impressive finish on the left, and Ronaldson nervelessly sent over the tightly-angled conversion to move the headquarters club back into the top four.
LANSDOWNE: Tim Foley; Cillian Redmond, Mark Roche, Conall Doherty, James Reynolds; Craig Ronaldson, James Kenny; Martin Mulhall, Dan Sheehan, Adam Boland, Mark Flanagan, Jack Dwan (capt), Jack O’Sullivan, Mark Boyle, Darragh Murphy.
Replacements: Conor Gleeson, Shane Moynihan, Cian O’Dwyer, Tim Murphy, Tom Roche.
CLONTARF: Jack Power; Sean Kearns, Michael Brown, Matt D’Arcy, Michael Courtney; Conor Kelly, Hugh O’Sullivan; Ivan Soroka, Dylan Donnellan, Royce Burke-Flynn, Cormac Daly, Ben Reilly, Tom Ryan, Tom Byrne, Michael Noone (capt).
Replacements: Tadgh McElroy, JP Phelan, Tony Ryan, Andrew Feeney, Gearoid Lyons.