April 30, 2005
Leinster 33 - 24 Glasgow Warriors
Celtic Cup match played at Lansdowne Road on Friday April 29th 2005 | One comment
Sam Pinder's quick thinking set up Glasgow's second try from their own line Glasgow's Celtic Cup dreams were shattered last night by a strong Leinster side, with the centre pairing of Lions, O'Driscoll and D'Arcy, snuffing out the second half Glasgow come-back.
Glasgow shrugged off a dismal first-half display to pin the Irishmen to the ropes with a stunning recovery which boosted their dream of facing Edinburgh or Munster at Hughenden in next week's semi.
Going into the last quarter they held the lead - but their aspirations were snuffed out by Lions skipper Brian O'Driscoll and centre partner Gordon D'Arcy, who bagged two killer tries in six minutes to prove to Sir Clive Woodward that they are in prime form in the build-up to the New Zealand tour.
In the initial stages, Glasgow were unable to produce the intensity of performance that took them so close to success against the same opponents on home turf less than a fortnight earlier.
It was a radically different story in the second-half as they mounted a remarkable revival. However, there was no way back after the deadly midfielders delivered their double strike.
The signs had been ominous for the Scots during the scrappy opening exchanges, but Glasgow's early defence was impressive and there was no immediate breakthrough. And it was the visitors who went within an inch of taking the lead when Dan Parks was unlucky to see his thumping penalty scrape the wrong side of the post.
Leinster's response was fast and clinical, with O'Driscoll’s magic sparking the scoring move with a perfectly delivered one-handed back-flip pass to D'Arcy, whose pace and poise gave Girvan Dempsey plenty of time and space to cruise in. The conversion was added by outside-half David Holwell, his 23rd successful attempt on goal on the spin.
Glasgow reacted positively with storming runs by Kevin Tkachuk and Paul Dearlove, and when the Leinster backs crept offside, Parks got them off the base-mark with a simple kick.
Then came the double setback which rocked the Scots. First, D'Arcy sent veteran forward Victor Costello galloping across, wrong-footing Rory Lamont in the process. Then D'Arcy turned from provider to finisher with the younger Lamont again found wanting in defence. Holwell converted both, opening an 18-point gap.
Glasgow then blew the contest wide open by claiming 11 points in quick-fire time. Parks fired over two penalties in the run-up to the break.
After Leinster brought big-guns Malcolm O'Kelly, Shane Horgan and Dennis Hickie off the bench, Dearlove ploughed over for a touchdown after slick work by Scott Barrow and captain Jonny Petrie.
The tide turned totally in the 53rd minute following a breathtaking sequence of events.
Leinster looked certain to regain the initiative when O'Kelly burrowed over the line, but he was penalised for rolling along the ground en route.
Instead of waiting for Parks to take a clearance kick, alert substitute scrum-half Sam Pinder tapped it and ran, catching the home markers unawares. He slipped it to Sean Lamont, who hurtled in for a try at the other end, setting up a simple conversion for Parks in the process.
Effectively, it was a turnover of 14 points in Glasgow's favour, and even better was to come when they snatched the lead with a close-range penalty from Parks following a dangerous challenge on Sean Lamont.
Leinster were clearly rattled and they stepped up the pace with lethal effect, O'Driscoll and D'Arcy’s counters ending the brave Glasgow effort.
It was no surprise when D'Arcy was named man of the match, but there was also generous praise for Glasgow’s role in a stirring game. Coach Hugh Campbell had no complaints about the outcome. He said "I could not fault our guys for their effort - particularly after we had fallen behind in the first half.
"Leinster always looked that bit sharper than us, as you might expect when you look at the names they have."
Match report taken from The Scotsman.
Photos from yesterday's quarter final can be found in The Gallery.
It was a great effort by the guys to turn an eighteen point deficit into a three point lead. The sheer class of O'Driscoll and D'Arcy told in the end, though. They were the difference between the sides. Sean's try will live long in the memory; running the length of the Lansdowne Road pitch after Sam Pinder's quick thinking to take the tap.
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