Evan Treacy/INPHO

Lansdowne seal semi-final spot with victory over UCC

Mark McHugh’s men had the bonus point tucked away by half-time.

LANSDOWNE GUARANTEED THEIR presence in the Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A semi-finals with a 52-21 victory over UCC this afternoon.

Mark McHugh’s men had the bonus point tucked away by half-time with lively full-back Eamonn Mills bagging a brace, but the concession of three maul tries was a concern.

UCC, who are destined for the relegation play-off, hit the front when hooker Tadgh McCarthy piled over from a well-executed lineout drive. Daniel Squires converted.

However, Dan Murphy pounced from close range for an 11th-minute leveller, with Clive Ross having been tackled short just a couple of phases earlier. Stephen Madigan’s kick made it seven points apiece.

eamonn-mills-scores-a-try Evan Treacy / INPHO Evan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Lansdowne’s backs were in lethal form on the Aviva Stadium’s sun-kissed back pitch. The hosts took the lead when Paul Kiernan and Michael Silvester combined to send Mills over out wide on the right.

UCC won a relieving scrum penalty amid a bout of set-piece pressure from Lansdowne’s pack, but Silvester was soon set free to score in the right corner with 28 minutes on the clock.

Following a Ross lineout steal, UCC were outflanked again as Kiernan took possession up, offloading for Mills to step off his left and accelerate away up the right touchline to complete his brace.

Out-half Madigan converted the bonus point try and also tagged on the extras to replacement James Reynolds’ late effort. Once more it was centre Kiernan who broke the line in midfield, feeding the ball wide for Reynolds to make it 31-7.

Early in the second half, one too many infringements landed Lansdowne lock Ruairi Clarke in the sin bin, and UCC’s Jack Kelleher joined him soon after as the hosts lifted the tempo again.

A short lineout move almost put Lansdowne replacement Jamie Kavanagh over for a try, before loosehead Frank Kavanagh barged over from a few metres out to put 31 points between the sides.

UCC replied with a second maul score, replacement Billy Kingston crossing after Cian Whooley’s chip kick had been gobbled up by Billy Kiernan, a cousin of Lansdowne’s influential centre.

lansdowne-are-applauded-after-the-game Evan Treacy / INPHO Evan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

The scores kept coming, Lansdowne finishing with eight tries in all. Jack Matthews was denied by a forward pass before Corey Reid ran in an intercept try just as UCC looked to break out of their own 22.

Reid slipped a lovely offload away for replacement Andy Marks to go in behind the posts, allowing Madigan to take his kicking haul to 12 points.

The Cork students, who had seven Under-20 players in their starting XV, had the final say when hooker Kingston scrambled over from a last-minute maul. George Coomber added his second conversion.

Scorers for Lansdowne: Tries: Dan Murphy, Eamonn Mills 2, Michael Silvester, James Reynolds, Frank Kavanagh, Corey Reid, Andy Marks; Cons: Stephen Madigan 6
UCC: Tries: Tadgh McCarthy, Billy Kingston 2; Cons: Daniel Squires, George Coomber 2

LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills; Michael Silvester, Paul Kiernan, Corey Reid, Sean Galvin; Stephen Madigan, Jack Matthews; Frank Kavanagh, Luke Thompson, Ben Popplewell, Dan Murphy, Ruairi Clarke, Clive Ross, Jack O’Sullivan (capt), Mark Boyle.

Replacements: Jamie Kavanagh, Adam Boland, Matthew Healy, Shane Hourihane, Andy Marks, James Reynolds.

UCC: Louis Bruce; Rob Hedderman (capt), Daniel Squires, Cian Whooley, George Coomber; Billy Kiernan, Louis Kahn; Rory Duggan, Tadgh McCarthy, Alan McDonald, Richard Thompson, Mark Bissessar, Sam O’Sullivan, Jack O’Sullivan, Jack Kelleher.

Replacements: Billy Kingston, Corey Hanlon, Aidan Brien, Peter Hyland, Sam Tarleton, Joe O’Leary.

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