Leinster A 59 Plymouth Albion 26
British & Irish Cup Pool 5
Match report by Paddy Marsh
Images courtesy of Pinnacle Photo Agency
In their final British & Irish Cup match Albion suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of impressive holders Leinster A at Donnybrook.
Mid way through the first half it looked like Albion were going to suffer an embarrassing defeat when, after 22 minutes, they were 40-0 down.
To their credit Albion regrouped and from that point outscored Leinster 26-19 and finished with the try scoring bonus point for their efforts.
Albion players and officials had a troublesome journey to Dublin having had to evacuate their plane at Bristol airport due to a fire emergency and then having to wait eight hours for a replacement flight.
Despite knowing that they couldn’t qualify for the quarter finals of this seasons competition, Plymouth Albion named a strong team for the return game against Leinster A.
In the backs there were recalls for Elliot Clements – Hill at full back and top points scorer Lawrence Rayner at fly half.
Australian Marc Koteczky, having recovered from a hamstring injury, came into the centre replacing Ben Woods.
Up front Dan Pullinger came in at loose head with assistant coach Rhys Oakley named in the second row.
Albion made a bright start but with their first piece of possession Leinster scored their opening try when flanker Jordan Coghlan went in under the posts with fly half Cathal Marsh adding the simple conversion.
Leinster quickly added a second when left wing Sam Coghlan-Murray crossed and Marsh converted from wide out.
Home lock Ben Marshall then powered over from close range for try number three and when Coghlan-Murray went in on the overlap for his second Leinster had the try scoring bonus point in the bag by as early as the 14th minute.
With Albion slipping off numerous tackles it came as no surprise when right wing Cian Kelleher went over for try number 5 with Marsh converting with a superb kick from the touchline.
The very impressive Marsh was next on the try scoring list jinking his way under to posts and when he converted Albion were 40- 0 down after just 22 minutes.
Albion gradually worked their way back into the game and when Leinster flanker Paeder Timmins was yellow carded the visitors opened their account when Koteczky scored under the posts with Rayner converting.
Albion 40-7 down at the break started the second half by having Oakley yellow carded for illegal use of the boot but despite being a man down the visitors were next on the score board.
After a series of forward drives flanker Rob Langley got the ball down with Rayner adding the extras.
Against the run of play Leinster added another try when centre Garry Ringrose scored with Marsh converting.
Having used all their replacements Albion had to play out the last 17 minutes with 14 men after centre Toby Howley-Berridge was forced off with a leg injury.
Leinster passed the half century when Coghlan-Murray completed his hat trick with centre Steve Crosbie converting from the touchline.
Albion replied once again and got their third try when replacement Tom Heard forced his way over from close range with Rayner again converting.
Leinster got their ninth try when replacement Tadhg Beirne crossed but deep in jury time Albion got the try scoring bonus point when after a fine hand off Langley went over for his second of the game.
Leinster A: B Dardis, C Kelleher (A Byrne 46), G Ringrose, S Crosbie, S Coughlan-Murray, C Marsh (T Farrell 60), L McGrath capt (C Rock 50), P Dooley, A Dundon (J Tracy 40), R Burke-Flynn (N van Dyke 40), B Marshall (T Beirne 40), R Molony, J Coghlan (N Timoney 78), J van der Flier, P Timmins
Tries: Coghlan, Coghlan-Murray 3, Marshall, Kelleher, Marsh, Ringrose, Beirne
Cons: Marsh 6, Crosbie
Yellow card: Timmins, Molony
Plymouth Albion: E Clements-Hill, M Kohler, T Howley-Berridge, M Koteczky (C Foley 40), L Warner (B Foley 40), L Rayner, C Setter (J Davies 40), D Pullinger (T Heard 40), S Matavesi capt, T Fidler (L Chapman 28), N Patrick (H Stupple 40), R Oakley (H Stupple 4-16), R Langley, E Grace, I Grieve (A Bone 40)
Tries: Koteczky, Langley 2, Heard
Cons: Rayner 3
Yellow card: Oakley
Referee: B Whitehouse (WRU)