Leinster edge closer to Celtic League crown

Leinster took another step towards the Celtic League crown but not before they were made to toil by the trouble-torn Warriors at Firhill.

Glasgow Warriors 18 Leinster 21

Leinster took another step towards the Celtic League crown but not before they were made to toil by the trouble-torn Warriors at Firhill.

The Scots produced one of their grittiest displays of a wretched season to take the contest to the wire.

While the Irishmen now look odds-on to make up for their Heineken Cup semi-final disappointment by lifting the title, they were far from convincing after Brian O’Driscoll went off injured at the break.

He had, however, played his part by setting up a great try for winger Rob Carney which proved crucial.

Leinster’s confidence was underlined in the opening seconds when they spurned a penalty chance at goal and opted for a line-out in the danger zone.

But the gamble failed as home centre Andy Henderson snatched possession, allowing Dan Parks to hack the ball clear.

Johnny Beattie then pounced on the visitors’ sloppy throw and the Warriors earned a penalty.

Despite the distance, Parks made it look easy and he gave his side the ideal confidence boost.

Argentinian ace Felipe Contepomi was off-target at the other end – but made quick amends to slot the equaliser after James Eddie was guilty of holding on to the ball too long in the tackle.

It was the spur for Leinster to seize control and they carved out two tries in quick succession.

Glasgow’s initial setback came when Henderson was sent to the sin-bin for tugging Guy Easterby’s jersey with the ball elsewhere.

Then prop Kevin Tkachuk’s spill on the 22-line paved the way for Keith Gleeson to power through for touchdown number one, goaled by Contepomi.

Even worse was to come for Glasgow as a beautifully delayed pass from O’Driscoll created the time and space for Carney to cruise over in the left-hand corner.

Warriors had an opportunity to hit back through a midfield surge by Spencer Davey, but the good work was wasted when Hefin O’Hare dropped his feed.

Glasgow looked hungrier after the restart and they opened up the contest with a Henderson touchdown.

He was in the right place at the right time to snap up an interception when Contepomi was huckled and sprinted 50 metres to the line.

Parks converted to narrow the gap to five points – but Contepomi quickly eased the Leinster jitters with another penalty from close range.

There was another dose of frustration for the home fans when Parks missed his next attempt – then skipper Donnie Macfadyen was yellow carded for illegally handling on the ground at a ruck.

They made light of his absence and Parks rediscovered his boot form to bang over a penalty to set up a tense finale.

But Contepomi replied in identical style to restore his side’s advantage.

The Warriors refused to buckle and earned fresh hope when substitute prop Stuart Corsar snapped up their second try five minutes from time.

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox