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Belvo leave it late

EDDIE Devitt's last-gasp winning try set up what player-assistant coach Andy Dunne described as "the biggest day in Old Belvedere's history" as they clinched a place in the Ulster Bank League final on Saturday.

It was as dramatic a denouement as they come, heartbreaking for a Clontarf side who had dominated physically and looked to have won when Daragh O'Shea's penalty gave them a three-point lead late on.

They looked to have done the hard part, winning a penalty from the resultant kick-off, but the experienced full-back missed touch and the hosts were given one last chance.

Big No 8 Leo Auva'a took the ball to the northsiders, Dunne looped a pass out to Devitt who chipped and chased, beating back-row Simon Crawford in a foot-race and touched down, sparking jubilant scenes at Anglesea Road as the club reached the final for the first time.

Things had looked ominous for the hosts as 'Tarf ran in three excellent tries through Killian Lett and Barry O'Mahony, who crossed either side of the interval.

Conal Keane's penalties kept Belvo in touch but in need of a spark, Phil Werihako sent on Dunne, and it proved to be the turning point.

As the pressure grew, 'Tarf's Michael Keating and Ben Reilly were sin-binned and space opened up for the former Leinster and Connacht pivot. Auva'a was allowed to saunter in for a try to level matters at 17-17, but there was plenty of drama left as Devitt stole the show thanks to the guidance of experienced replacement Dunne.

Old Belvedere -- D Riordan; E Devitt, J Kennedy, B Woods, D Mongan (Chris Keane 36); Conal Keane (A Dunne 46), S Keogh; V Soden, D Gilchrist (K Buckley 57), S Maguire; R Leydon, B Marshall (D Moore 52); J Slattery (K Miller 70), J Risden, L Auva'a.

Clontarf -- D O'Shea; M McGrath, K Lett, E Ryan, M Keating; M Dufficy (J Wilson 70), H Nolan; C Kavanagh, A Dundon, N Treston (B Barclay 64); B Gissing (B Reilly 55), M Kearney; E Cremin, B O'Mahony, S Crawford.

REF -- J Carville (IRFU).

Irish Independent