Doo­ley puts in a shift to prop up Lans­downe

Fron­trower helps his side dom­i­nate up front and strip Cork Con of their ti­tle

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Rugby - GAVIN CUMMISKEY at Aviva Sta­dium

And they say props can­not shoul­der 80 min­utes any­more.

“I was a bit slow at the start,” smiled Peter Doo­ley. “The warm weather didn’t help and car­ry­ing around a big frame. Tough slog but Mike [Rud­dock] has had that faith in me for a good few years now – he left the three of us in the fron­trow to stick it out. The scrum penal­ties in the end paid div­i­dends. Got us good field po­si­tion at cru­cial times in the match.”

The scrum, an­chored by Doo­ley with Ty­rone Mo­ran out­stand­ing at hooker, es­pe­cially when bull­doz­ing over for the win­ning try, and cap­tain Ian Pren­derville equally ef­fec­tive, proved the win­ning of this fi­nal. With that Lans­downe stripped Cork Con­sti­tu­tion of the Ul­ster Bank All-Ire­land League ti­tle.

Doo­ley was so clearly the dom­i­nant phys­i­cal spec­i­men on view. That’s say­ing some­thing be­cause no man avoided con­flict. Con num­ber eight Luke Cahill was typ­i­cally su­perb while their big lock Conor Kin­dregan made a heroic con­tri­bu­tion late on that his team­mates failed to turn into a win­ning score.

“This was a great chance for Peter to show Le­in­ster what he is ca­pa­ble of do­ing,” said Lans­downe coach Mike Rud­dock. “There were a lot good play­ers on show to­day but I thought he was head and shoul­ders above ev­ery­one re­ally.

“He was like su­per­man out there - mak­ing breaks, knock­ing guys off, mak­ing big tack­les, turn­ing the ball over. It was quite a phe­nom­e­nal per­for­mance.”

Break­ing bread

Doo­ley, who sits fourth in the Le­in­ster queue be­hind Ed Byrne, hav­ing turned down the op­por­tu­nity to join Mun­ster last sea­son, looked ev­ery inch the 23-year-old prop who’s been break­ing bread with Cian Healy, Jack McGrath and Tadhg Fur­long day in, day out for sev­eral win­ters.

What was abun­dantly clear is the Of­faly na­tive has be­come too pow­er­ful and tech­ni­cally su­pe­rior for the am­a­teur ranks. He may end up play­ing for Le­in­ster A in Belfast.

The scrum car­pet-bombed Cork Con’s ti­tle de­fence but Scott Deasy pi­loted the mis­sion. A Con boy at heart, the 29-year-olds’s ex­tra bit of class and ac­cu­racy, when com­pared to Tomás Quin­lan, who blinked first and sec­ond, ul­ti­mately proved the dif­fer­ence.

No room for er­ror in a two point game.

This proved a gen­uine strug­gle with Quin­lan and his pack set­tling quicker un­der the scorch­ing sun to coast into a 9-3 lead.

Adam Leavy, a rapid ver­sion of big brother Dan, was the first three-quar­ter to carve a path into open grass. A few phases later Deasy made it 9-6. Next, Doo­ley be­gan his Healy im­per­son­ation with a rum­ble down the left flank but some sloppy dis­tri­bu­tion slowed Lans­downe’s push for a score.

Still, they turned around all square when Deasy again found the tar­get af­ter a high tackle by Cahill.

The scrum ad­van­tage saw him give Lans­downe a 12-9 lead but Con re­sponded with a power surge of car­ries that ended with lock Brian Hayes soak­ing Leavy’s tackle and stretch­ing over. Quin­lan missed the con­ver­sion but he did make it 17-12 on 57 min­utes.

Here’s when Lans­downe dug deeper. Deasy con­verted Mo­ran’s brutish try while Quin­lan missed with a penalty well in­side his range on 67 min­utes.

Cork Con were not spent but for ev­ery coura­geous mo­ment, like the Joseph McSwiney turnover, er­ror fol­lowed, like costly knock ons at the fin­ish.

No more points to re­port but Doo­ley’s clean rip off Ger Sweeney, two scrum penal­ties and the sight of the prop track­ing down Cahill in the 80th minute guar­an­teed the man of the match award.

“That’s why you train ev­ery day, you want to play in days like to­day,”

Doo­ley added on the sunny side of the pitch as roars drowned out his words. “This is why you play rugby, in the Aviva...” “DOO­LEY COME ON!” He bounded away for the team photo. They won’t, or cer­tainly shouldn’t, have him pos­ing with them next sea­son. Noth­ing new for Rud­dock.

“We won the league a few years ago and lost 13 play­ers. We had to re­build. Don’t for­get James Ryan and Max Dee­gan were play­ing for us in this league a cou­ple of years ago. Tadhg Beirne played for us in the last fi­nal. There are good play­ers in this league who can kick on and be­come pros.”


Lans­downe’s Scott Deasy and Mark McHugh af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle yes­ter­day.

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