Colm O’Shea starts as Leinster’s brutal season draws to a close

Centre given chance to impress in Edinburgh after team’s dismal showing against Treviso

Pick a low point. The two Munster defeats or the Dragons maybe. But no. It has to be last Friday at the RDS. Grim doesn’t cover it.

Even those attending the postmatch press conference lacked the desire to drag Leinster coach Matt O'Connor over the coals again. Also, Jamie Heaslip was beside him and the captain had been the only player who had maintained the highest standards so long associated with this group.

Confidence levels plummeted further when typing the official attendance of 11,332. There was maybe half that number silently suffering in the rain as the worst performance from a Leinster team in recent memory unfurled before them.

The mighty Treviso were eventually repelled (10-0) as the cognoscenti bade farewell to Shane Jennings and Gordon D’Arcy. Two men who shouldn’t have been taking their leave after a showing of such collective dirge.


Anyway, the damage was already done. And here’s one last game in a season that failed to deliver a single victory coupled with an excellent performance before O’Connor can start rebuilding standards behind closed doors.

A seriously demanding start to next season is promised, with about 20 players squirreled away in Ireland's World Cup camp.

This largely irrelevant fixture does at least give Pro12 exposure to Colm O'Shea and Cian Kelleher (replacement) while Ian Madigan gets a start at outhalf.

No Dan Leavy, Garry Ringrose or Ross Molony. Hopefully these budding underage stars will make their impact when Leinster seek to survive the long, hard autumn months. At least the talent exists beneath the surface. Maybe this brutal campaign needs to end before they can come through.

EDINBURGH: J Cuthbert; D Fife, S Beard, A Strauss, T Visser; T Heathcote, S Hidlago-Clyne; A Dickinson, R Ford, J Andress; A Bresler, B Toolis; F McKenzie, H Watson, C Du Preez.

Replacements: N Cochrane, R Sutherland, S Berghan, O Atkins, J Hilterbrand, N Fowles, J Te Rure, T Brown.

LEINSTER: R Kearney; Z Kirchner, C O'Shea, N Reid, D Kearney; I Madigan, I Boss; J McGrath, R Strauss, M Ross; D Toner, M McCarthy; J Murphy, S O'Brien, J Heaslip.

Replacements: A Dundon, M Bent, T Furlong, T Denton, J Conan, L McGrath, J Gopperth, C Kelleher.

Referee: N Owens (WRU).

Verdict: Draw.

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent