Ronaldson sparks Lansdowne

FOURTEEN points from out-half Craig Ronaldson in a 10-minute spell before the break sparked a Lansdowne revival that eventually consigned Old Belvedere to their third straight loss in Division 1A of the Ulster Bank League on the main pitch of the Aviva Stadium last night.

The holders started superbly. Leinster No 8 Leo Auva’a smashed a ball through the middle and forced Lansdowne into an indiscretion. Fly-half Andrew Dunne kicked the penalty for the lead in the third minute.

Straight away, they were knocking on the door again. Dunne was mixing his game nicely and his three-quarters were full of running. From a sweeping movement, right wing Henry Bryce broke free of a ruck to force his way over in the left corner.

Dunne’s sideline conversion made it 10-0 in the eighth minute.

Then the visitors opened the door by twice turning over the ball when moving it from well inside their own 22.

Ronaldson ignored runners left and right to halve the deficit with a smartly taken try on the half hour, eroded it further with a penalty from 45 metres and slipped Lansdowne in front from his second and third penalties for a 14-10 half-time lead.

Replacement Conal Keane’s penalty was more than cancelled out by a try from Lansdowne flanker Kieran Essex.

Then, Ronaldson kicked his fourth to make it an eight-point game.

The champions rediscovered some of their rhythm for full-back Danny Riordan to claim a try in the left corner going into the final quarter. It was as close as they would get.

Lansdowne scorers: C Ronaldson try, 4 pens; K Essex try).

Old Belvedere: H Bryce, D Riordan try each; A Dunne pen, con; C Keane pen).

LANSDOWNE: R McCarron (capt); C Aherne, S Carey, W Walsh, M Healy; C Ronaldson, J Cooney; I Prendeville, D Toomey, M Moore, N Keogh, M Feely, K Essex, J Kelly, R Boucher.

Replacements: S Collins for Toomey ht; G Stafford for Walsh 51 mins; J Murphy for Boucher 56 mins; W Earle for Feely 71 mins.

OLD BELVEDERE: D Riordan; H Bryce, J Kennedy, A Wynne, D Mongan; A Dunne, S Keogh; J Harvey, M Cooney, B O’Dea, E Jackman, A Trenier, R Leyden, K Miller, L Auva’a.

Replacements: V Soden for Harvey, C Keane for Dunne, K Buckley for Cooney, B Smyth for Jackman, all 46 mins; K Hurrell for Kennedy 64 mins.

Referee: J Lacy, IRFU.

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