Lansdowne Makes Regional Semis

November 19, 2008

By Richie Price
THE Lansdowne Rugby Club booked a passage to Newport, Rhode Island and the Northeast semifinals as the Irishmen beat the Hartford Wanderers by 30-3 last weekend.

The home side’s clinical performance was even more impressive as the backs and forwards linked up on several occasions to dominate possession.

The match began promisingly for Lansdowne as Hartford were penalized for a hands in a ruck in the second minute. Johnny Coghlan slotted for an early 3-0 advantage.

The home side controlled possession, featuring several thunderous downfield runs from winger Gavin Butler. However, the final quarter of the first half saw Lansdowne frequently penalized for off-sides. The Wanderers’ kick at goal was successful as the visitors tied the score in the 32nd minute.

The second half began as Lansdowne were able to effectively recycle clean ball until Hartford infringed in the third minute. Outhalf Johnny Coghlan was successful in his shot at goal, putting Lansdowne up for good. The fleet-footed Hartford backs seemed to be bothered by the muckish condition of the pitch and in the eighth minute, center Blake Mannion intercepted an errant pass and galloped into goal for the match’s first try.

The home side’s pack was revved up at this point and began a focused assault on the visitors. In the 26th minute a dynamic Lansdowne scrum led to number eight Steven O’Keefe bludgeoning his way into goal to extend the lead to 18-3.

Corkman O’Keefe wasn’t finished, and, in the 33rd minute snatched the ball out of a ruck. The number eight shot downfield for 40 meters and touched down in-goal for his second try.

The Lansdowne defense continued its dominance as several big tackles, particularly by Manus O’Sullivan and Brian Fingleton, prevented the Wanderers from launching a sustained attack. In the 36th minute, Johnny Coghlan sent a grubber through the Hartford defense. Winger Gavin Butler gobbled up the ball and touched down, finalizing the score at 30-3.

Man of the match was indomitable prop Ian O’Connor. Other notable work was put in by

Mike Poplaski, Manus O’Sullivan, Blake Mannion, Brian Fingleton, Gavin Butler, Johnny Coghlan and Ronny Kemly.

Lansdowne practices are held Monday and Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Tibbetts Brook Park in Yonkers. All interested players should attend or contact the club at, 914-584-4541, or e-mail

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