Ryan’s late salvo eases Clon’s Town Cup nerves

by Gazette Reporter
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CLONDALKIN overcame a determined Longford side to book their place in the quarter finals of the Leinster Towns Cup with a 34-23 win in Kingswood on Sunday.
The 11-point winning margin does not tell the tale of the nervous finish from Clon, leading by just four points with two minutes to go.
Longford were held up over the Clon try line only for the home side to break out and score a try through centre Paddy Ryan with the last play of the game to break the tension.
Longford began the first half in the ascendancy, utting width on the ball at every opportunity. The Division 2A leaders had to wait just 10 minutes for the cracks to appear in Clon’s defense, touching down under the posts for a converted try.
Chris Jebb was on target with a penalty to get Clon on the scoreboard on the quarter hour mark but the pressure was all on the home team during these stages.
Clon did themselves no favours with a series of poor clearance kicks and they went into the break seven points down at 13-6.
With the wind at their backs, however, Clon started the second period stronger and from the kick off, momentum from a Jebb break was continued by Neil Finlay who registered the home team’s first try
Jebb converted and Finlay doubled his tally just four minutes later, as he exploited some slack Longford covering, racing in unopposed down the left wing for an 18-13 lead.
Longford retorted with a penalty in the 50th minute but a pair of Jebb three-pointers eked out an eight-point advantage.
Longford kept fighting and a turnover on the Clon 22, allied to quick hands, saw them cross the whitewash and touchline conversion made it 24-23.
That’s how it stayed until the 72nd minute when Clon pressure defense forced a penalty at the breakdown for Jebb to convert a penalty.
A four point game it remained until the final minutes of drama which saw Clon push out to a winning margin of 11 points and a place in the quarter finals for the third year in a row.

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