Saturday, November 29, 2014

Leinster A-67 Carmarthen Quins-12


TEN OUTTA TEN

Prior to this match Leinster A had scored 81 points in their previous 3 matches in Pool 5 of the British & Irish Cup.  But for an understandably merciful referee, they could have easily had more than that today, though I dare say Girvan Dempsey will be pretty satisfied with "just" the 67 on the back of ten tries!

This wasn't the first Donnybrook thrashing the A side have handed out and it probably won't be the last.  But much like the other one-sided affairs, the visitors showed a decent standard throughout in many areas and certainly never gave up the ghost altogether - it was in the area of defence where the difference told, and I mean more on our side than theirs.

I had a go at "liveblogging" the match from the main stand, click here to have a look.  I was certainly kept busy!  There would be no point in re-hashing all of the five-pointers here but I will pick what I felt was the pick of the bunch.

The scoreline hides the fact that the Welsh visitors had a fair slice of the territory throughout, crashing into the blue brick wall of our D more often than not.  From our own 22 shortly after a turnover, Cathal Marsh, who took a while to get going in open play but once he did he was nigh on unstoppable, spotted a gap in the first line of tacklers and laid it off to the pacy Mick McGrath who already had a try to his name.

It was still deep in his own half but you wouldn't have bet against McGrath to score even from there; yet he had Brendan Macken outside him and his intention was only ever to ship it on and Macken powered forward up the line before laying off a sweet pass back inside right into the stride of McGrath who stayed in support and from the halfway line there was nobody who was going to get near him.

Macken did well today I thought.  Though wearing 13 he spent a lot of time out wide and certainly did well when it came to him and indeed it was himself who opened the scoring.

You'd be tempted to say Man of the Match was an easy choice since our fullback Cian Kelleher bagged a hat-trick for himself but I'd be inclined to go for Marsh who did miss a few place kicks but also nailed some beauts from the touchline and like I said was clearly playing below his level once he settled into the match.

Maybe, just maybe, the visitors will feel the ref sold them short when they had a purple patch in the first half.  We shipped a load of penalties in that time and I think he was one penalty later than he could have been giving skipper Ross Molony a warning.

As it turned out we did see yellow in the second period when substitute Steve Crosbie knocked on - ref said it was intentional, I thought it was harsh, but as it turned out though the visitors did add a try to the one they got in the first half, it was while Crosbie was off the park that the Leinster try floodgates really began to open.

Then as the clock ticked towards the final minutes, it was Quins' turn to start concede pen after pen.  In "normal" circumstances, they could have had multiple yellows but I doubt anyone will have qualms over the ref (Craig Maxwell Keys of the RFU) holding back.

Overall it was a decent slog for the forwards...they were always on top in the scrums and since the visitors did their best to make the most out of every possession there was certainly a lot of tackling practice to be had.  There was just no way through.

So all told another fine outing for the reigning B&I Cup holders.  Jersey away next - I make it that any kind of a win there should win us the pool.  Did we learn much with regard to who is ready to move up to the A side?  Well I'd definitely say Marsh is ready for a Pro12 start.  When he gets it is anyone's guess.  JLP
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