Saturday, December 07, 2013

Leinster A-31 Cross Keys-0

 
It may have been boys v men age-wise in Cross Keys' favour, but in terms of quality it was very much the opposite at Donnybrook on Saturday afternoon.
 
Words cannot describe just how little the scoreline reflects the total domination of Girvan Dempsey's side for the entire 80 minutes, but since they are all I have I'll give it a go.
 
The only way the Welsh Premiership outfit could get close to the Leinster tryline was by a placekick penalty taken from the halfway line that came down off the crossbar but even then the home defence was well equipped to clear.
 
Where we had problems was going forward...I know that may seem odd given the final scoreline but in the first half particularly several series of phases were thwarted by a knock on or to be fair to Cross Keys, the odd steal.
 
The tries did come however, in quick groups of two, one in either half.  First of all a lineout/maul penalty option at the Bective end led to my man of the match Luke McGrath putting hooker Bryan Byrne through for the opening score.  A few minutes later the scrum-half was involved again as he provided excellent support for his number 10 Cathal Marsh who broke from deep and eventually it was St Marys winger Brody from Homeland Darragh Fanning who easily went over.
 
It was 16-0 to the hosts at half time and the handling errors continued in the second half but as time wore on, the visitors' efforts to stop our momentum became less and less legal and eventually English referee Tom Foley had no choice but to go to his pocket.
 
Truth be told he could have sent half the Cross Keys pack to the line at different stages but he chose to be merciful and waited for the first transgressor to return to the field before he flashed yellow at another.  It was during this second 10-minute spell with an extra man that Leinster finally found the space to secure the bonus point thanks to Fanning's second and a welcome five-pointer for Jordan Coghlan on his return from lengthy injury.
 
Hard to pick out too many players from such a one-sided affair but as I suggested McGrath & Marsh were enterprising halfbacks, Sam Coghlan-Murray loved to attack from deep and in the pack Byrne gave a good account of himself.
 
So all in all a comfortable win with much to work on - let's just say if we play like this in the return next week in front of what is likely to be a passionate Welsh crowd things may be a lot closer.
 
Last, but certainly not least...if anyone has an explanation for Cathal Marsh's kicking style (see video) I'd love to hear it! JLP

Click here for photos by inpho.ie

Leinster A Cross Keys

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