Scanlon makes Belvo rue Dunne's rotation
Cork Con 12
Old Belvedere 9
OLD BELVEDERE'S plan to make a second statement in Division 1A of the All-Ireland League came apart in injury-time at Anglesea Road on Saturday when Cork Constitution full-back Sean Scanlon landed a 50-metre match-winning drop-goal.
Having seen off last season's runners-up St Mary's in their opening match in the top flight, much was expected of Old Belvedere.
The expectation was that, with Simon Keogh and Andy Dunne guiding them at half-back, they were in with a decent chance of adding the scalp of the defending champions.
But assistant coach Dunne, Belvo's out-half and probably their most influential player, didn't start.
Instead, head coach Phil Werahiko surprisingly chose to operate a rotation system and leave the former Harlequins and Leinster man on the bench, with Colman Keane starting at No 10.
Dunne eventually came on eight minutes into the second half with his side trailing 9-6. He was outstanding for the next 12 minutes, his penalty enabling Old Belvedere to draw level at 9-9, but he then had to retire with a hamstring twinge.
Yet you were left wondering if things could have been better had Dunne started, particularly as Old Belvedere had the wind with them in the opening half.
As it was, they were level 6-6 at half-time, with Keane's two penalties cancelled out by two from Con's wing Richie Lane.
After Lane added a third penalty to make it 9-6 early in the second half, Cork Con appeared to have taken control but the arrival of Dunne from the bench seemed to rejuvenate Old Belvedere.
They applied considerable pressure, with Dunne's penalty bringing them level.
But following his departure, they had to reorganise and Cork Con regained the initiative, with the impressive Scanlon putting over his spectacular match-winning drop-goal in injury-time.
Given that they lost Duncan Williams to Munster and Tom Gleeson to injury, this was a decent success for the Division 1A leaders.
Cork Con coach Brian Walsh was entitled to feel a bit thankful that Dunne wasn't around in the first half.
"I suppose I was a bit surprised that he (Dunne) didn't start," he admitted. "I was quite happy not to see him out there."
Old Belvedere -- B Woods; E Devitt, J Kennedy, E O'Malley, G Waller; C Keane (A Dunne 48, D Mongan for Dunne 60), S Keogh; V Soden, M Cooney, S Maguire, D Moore, A Trenier (B Marshall 48), R Leyden (capt), J Risdon, L Auva'a.
Cork Constitution -- S Scanlon; R Lane, S Zebo, C Jouve, C Healy; D Lyons, A Ryan; M Gately (G Murray 63), R Quinn (M O'Leary 66), S Archer, B Hayes, I Nagle, B Holland, P O'Mahony (J McSwiney 84), F Cogan (capt).
Ref -- R Kerr.