Smyth praises St Mary's pack
Old Belvedere 10 St Mary's 27
ST MARY'S COLLEGE overcame a difficult start to record an impressive seventh successive Division 1A victory at Anglesea Road on Saturday.
The league leaders found themselves trailing 7-0 to the bottom side after 12 minutes. Darren Hudson, moved to full-back from the wing because of an injury to Gavin Dunne, saw a delicate chip around his own '22' intercepted by Old Belvedere centre John Kennedy, who went over for a try.
Aidan Wynne converted, but then missed a relatively easy penalty.
However, having previously held their own in the forward exchanges, the hosts were driven off the ball on their own put-in to a scrum in the 20th minute. It was a major turning point as from then on, Belvo experienced all sorts of problems in the set-piece.
St Mary's drew level 14 minutes before the break when Hudson went over to make amends for his error. The score was set up by the pack, who mauled their way close to the line following a line-out.
Ray Crotty's conversion drew the league leaders level but a spirited Old Belvedere hit back with a well-struck penalty from Wynne to leave them three points clear at the break, 10-7.
St Mary's began the second period brightly and the pressure finally proved too much, with prop Colm McMahon and out-half Philip Brophy both scoring tries.
Crotty proved an able goal-kicking deputy for Dunne, landing both conversions and two penalties.
"Job done," commented Mary's coach Peter Smyth. "Old Belvedere started well and deserved to lead 10-7 at the interval but hats off to our pack. They scrummaged and mauled really well."
Defending champions Belvo now face a crucial relegation battle with Blackrock at Stradbrook.
"We simply have to win that one," admitted coach Phil Werahiko.
Old Belvedere -- D Riordan; E Devitt, J Kennedy, B Woods, M McAllister; A Wynne, S Keogh; B Harrison, D Gilchrist, B O'Dea; D Moore, A Trenier; C Mallon, M Oyuga, R Leyden (capt). Reps: M Cooney, P O'Regan, R Monaghan, D Mongan, K Hurrell.
St Mary's College -- D Hudson; R Crotty, S Grissing, M Sexton, C Lilly; P Brophy, M D'Arcy; C McMahon, Richard Sweeney, Robert Sweeney; G Logan, S Bradshaw; C Ruddock, G Austin, H Hogan (capt). Reps: D Hall, B O'Flanagan.
Ref -- J Lacy.