Comprehensive win over UL Bohemians keeps Lansdowne in pole position to land title
Lansdowne stretch lead at top of AIL
LANSDOWNE have put themselves in position to capture the Ulster Bank League Division following a comprehensive 42-7 bonus point success over UL Bohemians at Annacotty.
Potentially, Lansdowne could make certain of finishing top with a losing bonus point against second placed Clontarf on the back pitch at the Aviva Stadium. But the obvious target is to claim the title with another victory.
The situation is that Lansdowne now lead the table by 19 points.
Clontarf do have a game in hand after their home fixture against Dolphin was postponed but realistically there is no chance of them overtaking their rivals.
To do so, they would have to win all of their last four games with bonus points and for Lansdowne to completely collapse.
Saturday's match against bottom side UL Bohs was decided by half-time. Lansdowne dominated to lead 28-0 at the interval with centre Simon Morrisey, outhalf Craig Ronaldson and substitute scrum-half Marcus Walsh all scoring tries.
The impressive Ronaldson kicked two conversions and also landed three penalties. Unfortunately, UL Bohs didn't help their cause by having two players, outhalf JJ Hanrahan and flanker Ian Condell sin-binned.
Fight of it
But they did at least make a far better fight of it with the wind behind them in the second half. Admittedly, Lansdowne had to reshuffle their back division with fulback Ross McCarron, wing Forster Horan and Ronaldson all going off injured.
Initially, Lansdowne made certain of the bonus point with a penalty try following a collapsed scrum, converted by substitute Ed Torrie.
Down 35-0 UL Bohs could have competely caved in but they produced their best spell of the game for Sean Rennison to score a try which Ben Martin converted. They could quite easily have got another but it was Lansdowne who had the last word with their fifth try from number eight Ron Boucher. Torrie, one of three former UL Bohs players in the Lansdowne set-up, added the conversion.
The concern for coach Mike Ruddock is that his injured players are fit for next Saturday. Forster Horan looks the most doubtful.
“That's the worry.” admitted Ruddock. “We put a lot of effort in today against a very passionate team fighting for their lives and it cost us some key players.“We are not really sure about the extent of the injuries at the moment.”
UL Bohs remain three points behind second from bottom Shannon but have played a game more. Third from bottom Old Belvedere picked up two important points, despite losing 37-32 to Cork Constitution at Temple Hill.