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Leinster's young guns impress again as they see off Bath at Donnybrook

Deegan, O’Brien and Carbery all impressed as Leo Cullen’s side roundd off their pre-season with a 25-17 win.

Dave Kearney won the race to score Leinster's second try.
Dave Kearney won the race to score Leinster's second try.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Leinster 25

Bath 17

Ryan Bailey reports from Donnybrook

EVEN WITH THE bulk of their international contingent sitting in the stands, Leinster once again highlighted the strength in depth in their ranks as they rounded off their pre-season preparations with victory over Bath.

Following on from last week’s demolition of Gloucester, Leinster — with more than a sprinkling of academy talent in their side — ran in three tries to head into next week’s Pro14 opener against Dragons on the back of another hugely beneficial workout.

Will Connors, Conor O’Brien and Joey Carbery all put in impressive shifts in front of a healthy Friday evening crowd at Donnybrook, with the latter coming on at the break to have a huge impact on proceedings.

Max Deegan’s try just before the break got Leinster up and running and Carbery then took centre stage as he pulled the strings and marshalled the contest with a swagger.

His deft kick through allowed Dave Kearney to cross for Leinster’s second score in the corner and while Bath came roaring back through tries from Ben Tapuai and Kahn Fotuali’i, the hosts had enough about them to record a second win of pre-season.

Carbery kicked Leinster back into a six-point lead on the hour mark and Nick McCarthy then ensured the result was in no doubt with a late score of his own, although Fotuali’i crossed for his second in the dying embers.

Arriving in Dublin off the back of pre-season victories over Bristol and Ospreys, the Premiership outfit, with Lions number eight Taulupe Faletau back in their side, brought a physical edge to proceedings and the opening 20 minutes were tight and scrappy with both sides feeling their way into the contest.

Will Connors and Taulupe Faletau Will Connors was among those in blue who stood out. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

The first half, as a whole, was largely uneventful until Deegan — once again a standout performer — added the finishing touches to a move involving Conor O’Brien and the tireless Connors just before the break. It was the number eight’s third try in a week after a brace against Gloucester.

O’Brien, operating at inside centre alongside Jimmy O’Brien, was heavily involved during the opening 40 and showed great energy and desire to get over the gain line and get his side on the front foot.

With Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw and now Tom Daly sidelined for the first chunk of the season, the door is now very much ajar for O’Brien and his performance certainly suggests he’s capable of bursting through it.

Ronan Kelleher and Caelan Doris made positive impacts, too, while James Ryan and Andrew Porter came on for their first run outs of the season.

But it was Carbery who caught the eye.

With Joe Schmidt and Ireland kicking coach Richie Murphy in attendance, the 21-year-old conjured an assured and hugely confident performance to put to rest any demons from his disastrous outing in green in New York.

Joey Carbery Carbery impressed off the bench. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Cullen made a host of changes for the second half, including the introduction of Carbery and Kearney, and straight away Leinster were sharper and more energetic with ball in hand.

The 21-year-old’s perfectly-weighted grubber through off his wrong foot allowed Kearney win a foot race to extend Leinster’s lead and he struck the conversion attempt beautifully from down in front of the grandstand.

While Carbery’s kicking from hand and the tee was faultless, he was even more impressive in open play, firing passes left and right and making a couple of clean line breaks to get Leinster on the front foot.

The eastern province briefly surrendered that initiative to allow the visitors back into the contest but Leinster closed it out through the boot of Carbery and McCarthy’s sniping score under the posts.

Now the real business starts.

Leinster scorers:
Tries: Max Deegan, Dave Kearney, Nick McCarthy 
Conversions: Ross Byrne [0 from 1], Joey Carbery [2 from 2]
Penalties: Ross Byrne [1 from 2], Joey Carbery [1 from 1]
Bath scorers:
Tries: Ben Tapuai, Kahn Fotuali’i [2]
Conversions: Freddie Burns [1 from 2]
Penalties: Rhys Priestland [0 from 1]

LEINSTER: 15. Jordan Larmour, 14. Fergus McFadden, 13. Jimmy O’Brien, 12. Conor O’Brien, 11. Barry Daly, 10. Ross Byrne, 9. Jamison Gibson-Park; 1. Ed Byrne, 2. Ronan Kelleher, 3. Michael Bent, 4. Ross Molony (captain), 5. Mick Kearney, 6. Caelan Doris, 7. Will Connors, 8. Max Deegan.

Replacements: 16. Sean McNulty, 17. Vakh Abdaladze, 18. Oisin Heffernan, 19. Ian Nagle, 21. Nick McCarthy, 22. Cathal Marsh, 23. Adam Byrne, 2. Sean Cronin, 3. Andrew Porter, 5. James Ryan, 7. Jordi Murphy, 10. Joey Carbery, 11. Dave Kearney, 24. Ian Fitzpatrick, 25. Hugo Keenan.

BATH RUGBY: 15. Darren Atkins, 14. Semesa Rokoduguni, 13. Max Clark, 12. Ben Tapuai, 11. Harry Davies, 10. Freddie Burns, 9. Chris Cook; 1. Nick Auterac, 2. Jack Walker, 3. Kane Palma-Newport, 4. James Phillips, 5. Elliot Stooke, 6. Matt Garvey (captain), 7. Guy Mercer, 8. Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: 16. Tom Dunn, 17. Beno Obano, 18. Sam Nixon, 19. Luke Charteris, 20. Paul Grant, 21. Kahn Fotuali’i, 22. Rhys Priestland, 23. Matt Banahan, 24. Levi Douglas, 25. Zach Mercer, 26. Josh Lewis.

Referee: John Lacey (IRFU).

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