Wednesday 22 November 2017

Belvo end hoodoo to go top

Old Belvedere 38
Shannon 16
AIL division 1a

Kieran Rooney

OLD BELVEDERE deservedly sit top of the table following an emphatic first success over Shannon at Anglesea Road on Saturday.

Despite the difficult conditions, Belvo ran in six tries, some of which were quite spectacular. Full-back Danny Riordan and No 8 Leo Auva'a got two apiece, with the others coming from wings David Mongan and Eddie Devitt.

Strange as it might seem, Shannon didn't perform that badly. They showed considerable character to stay in touch until the final 10 minutes but ultimately they simply couldn't cope with Belvo's superior pace and skill.

If the Dublin outfit can maintain this level of performance, they are in with a great chance in the title race.

Yet again, their back-row of Richie Leyden, Jason Rison and Auva'a was hugely impressive, while Ireland U-20 prop Stewart Maguire continues to look a real prospect.

With Fergus McFadden and Eoin O'Malley unavailable, you might have thought Belvo wouldn't be at their best behind the scrum. But at times, they were brilliant.

It helped that they were able to bring Leinster's Shaun Berne into midfield.

The Australian confirmed that he is over his injury problems with an outstanding display.

For Shannon to have any chance, they needed to start well. They did, with their No 8 David Quinlan scoring an early try which was converted by out-half Tadgh Bennett.

But Belvo retained their composure to hit back with a try from the powerful Auva'a. This was followed by two superb moves which ended with tries for Devitt and Mongan.

Andy Dunne was unable to land any of the conversions but he did kick a penalty to leave Old Belvedere 18-7 clear at half-time. Shannon, though, raised their game after the interval and hit back through two Bennett penalties before Auva'a secured his second try to make it 23-13.

Shannon must have thought they were still in with a chance when a further Bennett penalty reduced the deficit to 23-16 and Leyden was yellow-carded. But Old Belvedere managed to raise the game, Riordan crossing for two more well-taken tries, the second of which came in injury-time.

Unsurprisingly, Belvo coach Phil Werahiko was delighted, saying: "To score tries like that is very rewarding.

"We've put together two top-class performances now against Young Munster and Shannon, but it's going to get much more difficult. Dolphin upset Cork Constitution, and they will be looking to do the same to us in two weeks' time."

Old Belvedere -- D Riordan; E Devitt, J Kennedy, S Berne, D Mongan; A Dunne (capt, C Keane (70), S Keogh (G Walker 75); V Soden, M Cooney (N Lovic 75), S Maguire, D Moore, A Trenier (K Miller 75), R Leyden, J Rison, L Auva'a.

Shannon -- D O'Donovan (R Mullane 38); L O'Dea, M Lawlor, J Clogan, S Kelly; T Bennett, R Guerin (J Rowley 48); K O'Neill (G McNamara 48), D Casey, K Griffin, D Heffernan, F Walsh (capt), P Butler, C McMahon, D Quinlan.

Ref -- P Fitzgibbon.

Irish Independent

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