In the last of their four Conference League matches against the second XVs of the senior clubs, the Smiley Monroe Lisburn 1st XV continued their good run of form against a weakened Malone outfit at Blaris last Saturday.
Lisburn coach, Neil Hinds, used this match to try out some new combinations and to rest a few players who had been playing continuously for the last six weeks.
Out went Mark Gilkinson, Tom Fraser, Alan Hughes, Jonny Davis and Jake Beddington in the pack and Peter Weir and Andrew Neely in the backline to be replaced by Aaron Gilkinson, Tommy Thompson, Robin Johnston, Simon Gilmore, Graham Squirrell, Andrew Gilmore and Val Fave; and what a game they all stepped up to play.
Within two minutes Lisburn were 7-0 up after a quick passing movement to the right, a kind bounce of a hoisted ball saw inside centre Noel Hooke run through the Malone defence to score. Chris Knox converted.
Three minutes later, strong rucking by Lisburn gave second row Chris O’Brien the opportunity to drive over the line for another try and though the conversion was missed, Lisburn were now 12-0 in front.
Malone then came more into the game but strong defence kept them out and by the end of the first quarter it was evident that it was only going to be a matter of time before the home team broke through again, given the amount of possession they were getting both in the tight and loose.
Another Hooke break gave supporting outside centre Andrew Gilmore a further score, goaled by Knox.
The last ten minutes of the half was a golden period for the marauding Lisburn team. Firstly, flanker David Gilkinson broke through to score at the post, following which his co-flanker Simon Gilmore followed suit to break the visitor’s defence and pass the ball to winger Scott Hughes who scored under the posts.
Just on the blow for half time, David Gilkinson again made a neat break on the ten metre line before passing to Conor Guiney and the little winger pinned back his ears to dart left and right through the clutching hands of half the Malone backline before planting the ball behind the posts.
Chris Knox converted the three tries to give Lisburn an interval lead of 40-0.
With Lisburn so dominant in that pulsating first half, it was a bit disappointing that they then proceeded to stand back for much of the second period.
Malone came more into the game and tested the home defence on numerous occasions. Nevertheless, that defence stood firm and eventually, seven minutes from time, they were rewarded with another try after David Gilkinson had hoofed the ball up the field.
The chasing support failed to gather it but wily outhalf Chris Knox did the needful and picked the ball up cleanly to score under the posts.
He again converted for a personal haul of 17 points and Lisburn had won a rather one-sided game by 47-0.
There will be much stronger opposition next Saturday when Lisburn return to Qualifying League duty with an away game to Grosvenor.
The 2nd XV were unlucky to lose narrowly to Cavan away last Saturday and next week they return to Blaris to play Virginia, another Cavan team. The 3rd XV travel to play Carrick 3s on Friday, KO 7.30pm.