Kingsley breaks Belvedere hearts
OLD BELVEDERE player-coach Andy Dunne had absolutely no complaints about a remarkable ending to this top-of-the-table AIB League Division 1B clash at Anglesea Road on Saturday.
As the game reached its climax, Old Belvedere were desperately hanging on to a 15-13 advantage, and they seemed certain to secure the points when the Young Munster out-half Alan Kingsley was just wide with a penalty three minutes into injury-time.
However, there was further drama in the fifth minute of added time when the referee Leo Colgan penalised Old Belvedere's representative scrum-half Chris Keane for deliberately throwing the ball into touch.
The penalty, some 45 metres out and from the touchline, was far tougher than the one Kingsley had previously missed.
Furthermore, it was the last kick of the game. But the former Garryowen man delivered the victory for Young Munster with a tremendous effort which just scraped over the crossbar.
The occasion brought back memories of a controversial incident involving Ireland scrum-half Brendan Sherry in the sixties but this time around there was no real dispute.
Although obviously bitterly disappointed, Dunne accepted that it was a case of a rush of blood to the head on the part of Keane.
"I'd no issue with the decision. In fairness, it was a super kick from their out-half considering the circumstances," he said.
"We lost it because we didn't hold on to the ball long enough. We have threats in our team but we weren't able to really use them because we didn't get enough of the ball."
It must be of some consolation to Dunne that Old Belvedere still remain very much in the running for one of the two promotion positions and for the semi-final spot which goes with winning Division 1B. They now trail new leaders Young Munster by a point, with the third-placed side five points adrift.
For Young Munster, the victory is a huge boost as they bid to get back into the top flight for the first time in nine years. They have come a long way under the guidance of their scrum-half and coach Mike Prendergast.
Most importantly, they retain the character of the great Young Munster teams of the past.
"That's true." said Prendergast. "A lot of sides seeing the opposition scoring a try off first phase with seven minutes remaining would go under, but our guys kept their belief, honesty and workrate."
Prendergast, previously of Munster, Bourgoin and Gloucester, formed an influential half-back partnership with Kingsley. The out-half was responsible for 14 points, scoring a well-taken breakaway try when he gathered his own chip ahead and landing three penalties.
Centre Matthew Costello added the extra points to Kingsley's try to leave Young Munster 13-10 ahead at the interval.
Old Belvedere had tries from flanker Jason Risdon and left-wing Dave Mongan, with Leinster centre Fergus McFadden landing a conversion and a penalty.
Mongan's late spectacular try looked to have given Old Belvedere victory, but no one had really bargained for the extraordinary circumstances which brought about a dramatic Young Munster triumph.
Old Belvedere -- K Hurrell; E Devitt, J Kennedy (C Keane 63), F McFadden, D Mongan; A Dunne (Capt), C Keane; D Wyeth, M Cooney, N Lovic (S McGuire 61), P Spivey, A Trenier (R Leyden 62), J Slattery, J Risdon, L Aufa'a.
Young Munster -- R Moloney (I Cross 50); A Carroll, M Costello, C Casey, D Corcoran; A Kingsley, M Prendergast; G Flaherty, G Slattery (Capt), D Murphy (A Cotter 38), S O'Neill (L Murphy 46), D Payne, S Hassett, J O'Neill, N Melbourne.
Ref -- L Colgan.