The Terenure U20s came up just short with another strong performance last weekend against one of the top teams in JP Fanagan Premier 1, losing 29-22 against a well organised Lansdowne side on the Aviva Stadium back pitch.
On a wet and misty afternoon in Lansdowne Road, Terenure started well and looked comfortable in the slippery conditions. An early discretion from Lansdowne allowed Terenure open the scoring from the confident boot of Harvey O’Leary just inside half-way.
Lansdowne came straight back at the visitors and secured a converted try through their well organised line-out maul. Terenure bounced back immediately and after some strong phase play worked the ball to the right and into the hands of James Clarke who carried well into the corner and was taken down just short.
Some physical carries from the Terenure forwards led to captain Oisín Shannon crossing for a try on the 15m line, converted by O’Leary. However, Lansdowne were straight back into it, and within a short period were camped under the visitor’s posts. After a couple of scrum penalties the hosts were awarded a penalty try to get back into a 14-10 lead.
Terenure never buckled and continued to work hard, rewarded by two more penalties from the boot of O’Leary before half time to lead 16-14 at the interval.
The second half was a more deliberate affair, with both teams working hard for every inch. Lansdowne were the first to score through a try close to the posts on the right. While Terenure will be disappointed that the try scorer appeared to come from an offside position, the referee Ken McDonald wasn’t convinced and awarded the try. Another long range penalty from O’Leary left the match finely balanced at 21-19 as they entered the final quarter.
Terenure worked the ball well through their hands despite the slippery conditions and a clever grubber up the right touch line looked to have been carried over the line by a retreating Lansdowne player. And after subsequently dropping the ball it looked like Terenure had grounded the ball for a try. However, the referee didn’t agree and awarded a goal-line drop out.
To the amazement of all watching and the delight of the visitors the resulting drop out was fielded close to half-way by O’Leary. After a couple of short steps he guided his long range drop goal attempt over the bar to take Terenure into a 22-21 lead. With only 10 minutes left it looked like Terenure had a really good chance to take the spoils.
But it wasn’t to be. Lansdowne managed to score a try, and after missing the relatively easy conversion, scored a penalty from a similar position to lead by 7 points as the game went into the final minute. Despite a brilliant attack when it looked like replacement Charlie Redmond-Murray may have broken trough he was tackled within yards of the posts. The attack fizzled out and the match came to an end with Terenure having to be satisfied with a losing bonus point.
Terenure U20s started the season slow, but they are clearly improving every week. They will have been disappointed not to have got more from Sunday’s game, but they can certainly hold their heads high and be confident that they are trending in the right direction.