Sunday 23 October 2016

Lansdowne edge out Clontarf

Lansdowne players and backroom staff celebrate with the cup
Lansdowne players and backroom staff celebrate with the cup

Lansdowne recovered the All-Ireland League they won for the first time in 2013 in a pulsating final, ending the reign of Clontarf 18-17 at The Aviva Stadium.

In the ongoing argument over where to position the AIL, in terms of the professional gam e, this was a strong advertisement for rebooting a competition that was once revered in this country.

There were a whole host of Leinster Academy players on view, like Lansdowne's Tom Farrell, Tom Daly, Peter Dooley and Cian Kelleher and Clontarf's skilled centre Conor O'Brien - watch out for him - in a real see-saw thriller.

A recent Leinster recruit Royce Burke-Flynn set about showing Dooley what he had to learn about scrummaging.

The game swung, however, not on Mark Roche's 22nd minute try for Lansdowne orMatt Darcy's intercept to put 'Tarf six points clear 14-8 or even Joe McSwiney's plunder of another five-pointer from a maul in the 58th minute.

It all came down to Scott Deasy's drilling of a difficult penalty way out on the right in the 70th minute and replacement wing Ariel Robles' late hit on Kelleher to leave Clontarf to battle it out to the death with 14 men.

all ireland league final

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