Navan win Fraser McMullen Cup final
Navan created history today when they won the All-Ireland u-20 Fraser McMullen Cup with a 22-9 victory against Lansdowne at St Mary's.
Navan were ahead after only four minutes when Cathal Duff went over for a try in the corner after a good build up that involved Emmet Banahan, Niall McGrane and Christian Byrne who made the final pass.
Byrne was unsuccessful with the conversion attempt from close to the touchline, but the early score was the perfect start for the Navan lads.
The concession of that try saw the Dublin side raise the tempo and they put Navan under a lot of pressure in search of an equalising try. Navan were also guilty of some poor line-out play that brought pressure back on themselves, but they defended with great determination until the 23rd minute when Cormac Daly was penalised for a knock on.
That gave Lansdowne's Peter Hastie and opportunity for three points from about 30 metres and he duly reduced the deficit.
Navan took the game to Lansdowne from the re-start and had an opportunity to increase their lead from a Byrne penalty in the 28th minute, but he sliced his effort wide of the posts and the miss proved costly in the 31st minute when Hastie converted another penalty.
It took some heroic Navan defending to prevent a Lansdowne try in the 35th minute, but they survived intense pressure and from a scrum Liam Thornton emerged with the ball and Byrne lifted the siege with a relieving clearance.
Lansdowne were unable to make any further progress and had to settle for 6-5 interval advantage that was wiped out six minutes into the second-half when Byrne eventually found his range from a penalty in front of the posts to restore Navan's lead.
Navan's physical intensity kept them in the game as Lansdowne struggled to get out of their own half with Ian Rickard leading the charge and the reward on the scoreboard came when Kieran McKeever went over for a try in the corner which Byrne converted for a 15-6 advantage.
That really posed some questions for a Lansdowne team that had beaten Navan twice in the Premier 1 League this season and they got back into contention from another Hastie penalty with 14 minutes remaining.
Again, Navan dug deep to find a response and Byrne went close to grabbing a try before Fiachra Finnegan went over. Byrne converted for a 22-9 lead and the referee penalised Lansdowne for dissent with the kick-off a penalty to Navan - it was of no significance at that stage.
Navan - Christian Byrne; Paddy Fox, Kieran McKeever, Ben McEntaggart, Ian Rickard, Niall McGrane, Emmet Banahan; Fiachra Finegan, Cathal Duff, Alex McGoey, Cormac Daly, James O'Dea, Cathal Bermingham, Oisin Lavin-Kelly, Liam Thornton. Subs - Finn Searle for Banahan 57 mins, Shane Walsh for Rickard 58m, James Gibney for 66m, Darragh Magee for Bermingham 74m.
Lansdowne - Thomas O'Callaghan, Lee Molloy, Liam O'Sullivan, Harry Brennan, Paddy Moore, Peter Hastie, Tim Murphy; Greg McGrath, David Nicholson, Martin Mulhall, Brian Larkin, Conal O'Brien, Michael Joyce, Conor Fenlon, William Fay. Subs - Conor Farrell for Larkin 38 mins, Gavin Murray for Fay 42m,
Referee - Dan Carson.
FRASER MCMULLEN CUP FOCUS
Quarter-final - UCC 16, Navan 28; Lansdowne 36, Bruff 8.
Semi-final - Navan 42, Dublin University 31; Lansdowne 24, UCD 12.
Final - Navan 22 Lansdowne 9
Navan will host Sligo in a title-decider for the AIL Div 2C crown as the top two teams in the league battle it out for the automatic promotion spot.