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29th Sep 2017

They came to see Sean O’Brien but Max Deegan stole the show

Some impact from the lad

Patrick McCarry


The Lions were back for Leinster but a lad who easily could be wearing that red jersey in South Africa proved the matchwinner.

Leinster needed a huge boost from their bench to see off a dogged Edinburgh side that were still smarting after their home defeat to Treviso last weekend. Having trailed 6-0 at one stage, Leinster led 14-13 thanks to converted Jordi Murphy and Joey Carbery tries.

But they could not shake the Scots off. Johnny Sexton was the best of Leinster’s four returning Lions while Sean Cronin provided a couple of great bursts and Rhys Ruddock made 19 tackles and was hungry for more.

Sean O’Brien had a quiet enough comeback – registering just four tackles and 12 carries for only six metres gained – but it was his replacement that helped seal the match. Edinburgh, of course, were stretched and puffing in the final quarter but Max Deegan still had to make the plays. That he did and his three carries got Leinster well over the gainline. There was even a clean break thrown in.

His greatest contribution came as Jordan Larmour’s persistence and pressure led to an errant Blair Kinghorn kick. His clearance actually went backwards and Deegan lept higher than all to claim the ball and present cleanly.

The hang-time achieved by Deegan beggars belief. It was reckless and it was gutsy.

It won Leinster the pill and Jamison Gibson Park did the rest.

After Ross Byrne’s peach of a conversion, Leo Cullen’s side pressed for the fourth try but it was not forthcoming. Still, they will be pleased to have recorded their fourth win of the Guinness PRO14 season, ahead of next Saturday’s visit of Munster to the Aviva Stadium.

Deegan has some serious competition for spot in the Blues’ back row but his substitute appearance at the RDS definitely won’t harm.

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