Sport Rugby

Friday 17 November 2017

Cunningham wary of final hurdle as title beckons

Old Belvedere 21 Dolphin 15 (Ulster Bank AIL Division 1A)

Darren O'Shea wins possession in a line out for Dolphin
Darren O'Shea wins possession in a line out for Dolphin
Leo Auva'a, Old Belvedere is tackled by Ryan Murphy, Dolphin
Referee David Wilkinson speaks to Dolphin hooker Niall Scannell during the game

Kieran Rooney

OLD Belvedere are just one victory away from capturing the title for the second time in four years following this hard-earned victory at Anglesea Road.

Full-back Josh Glynn's achievement of kicking all 21 points means that they will travel to face Garryowen at Dooradoyle next Saturday with a two-point lead over their nearest challengers Clontarf. Having gone down to surprise defeats in their last two matches, Clontarf are facing the prospect of yet more disappointment in their bid to gain that elusive title.

They must defeat Ballynahinch at home in their final game and hope that relegated Garryowen can do them a favour by beating Old Belvedere.

Predictably, though, the Old Belvedere coach Paul Cunningham believes that the encounter is far from straightforward. Having played and coached at Garryowen over a 20-year period, he should know what to expect.

"It doesn't matter that they are already relegated," Cunningham insists. "They have great pride and will be 100pc. It's going to be tough."

No doubt, Cunningham will be looking for the same attitude displayed against Dolphin. It was a match which saw a below-par Old Belvedere come from behind after Dolphin took an early 10-0 lead.

A try from hooker Niall Scannell after just five minutes rocked Old Belvedere. Out-half Rory Scannell converted and then added a penalty before Old Belvedere found their feet with Glynn landing three penalties to reduce the deficit to 10-9 at half-time.

Glynn continued to knock over his penalty opportunities in the difficult windy conditions.

He landed seven out of eight attempts in all, while Dolphin responded with a well-worked unconverted try from right-wing Eoin O'Shaugnesssy.

Desperate to stay ahead of Ballynahinch in the battle to avoid the second from bottom position in the table, they caused Old Belvedere problems right up to the final whistle.

Old Belvedere – J Glynn; A Wynne, J Kennedy, S Berne, P O'Dwyer; S Crosbie, A Sheehan; P O'Regan, K McDonald, D Lavery, D Moore, J Eden-Whatiri, J Slattery (Capt), K O'Gorman, L Auva'a. Reps: A Trenier, A Howard, K O'Neill, F Lawlor, P Robb.

Dolphin – E Millls; E O'Shaughnessy, J Gleeson, C Bohane, A O'Leary; R Scannell, C Bannon; B Scott, N Scannell, C Condon (Capt), C Rowe, R O'Herlihy, M Cronin, J Vaughan, R Murphy. Reps: W Foley, D O'Shea, S McKeown, D Attridge.

Ref – D Wilkinson.

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