Saturday 20 January 2018

Keane's kicking masterclass gives 14-man Belvo the edge

AIL Round-up

DIVISION 1A leaders Old Belvedere had Conal Keane to thank for their dramatic 18-15 victory over Dolphin at Musgrave Park.

Forced to play much of the match with 14 men following the sending off of flanker Karl Miller towards the end of the first half, Old Belvedere had to dig very deep. Dolphin took an early 12-0 lead with tries from Paul Hurley and Niall Walley, one of which was converted by Barry Keeshan.

But Old Belvedere hit back to level at 12-12 with two tries of their own, from full-back Danny Riordan and prop Stuart Maguire, either side of half-time, with Keane adding a conversion.

Keane and Keeshan exchanged a drop-goal and a penalty to leave the sides level at 15-15 going into the dying minutes, before Keane landed a second drop-goal to give the Dublin outfit victory.

There was also a dramatic finish at Dooradoyle, where Garryowen earned an 11-11 draw against second-placed Cork Constitution when Declan Cusack kicked an injury-time penalty.

There were just two tries, full-back Lorcan Bourke going over for an early Garryowen effort, before second-row Brian Hayes crossed for Cork Con.

While Con will see it as an opportunity lost, it was an important draw for Garryowen.

Following Shannon's dramatic success over Young Munster on Friday night, the three Limerick clubs are now locked together on 10 points at the bottom of the table.

Clontarf stay out in front in Division 1B following a 25-18 victory over Lansdowne at Castle Avenue. Once again, Lansdowne flattered to deceive, after establishing an early 11-0 lead with a try from Matt Healy and two penalties by Eoghan Hickey.

But Clontarf rallied to eventually take control in the second half. Aaron Dundon and Ben Grissing scored tries, with the remainder of their points coming from the boot of Noel Reid.

Buccaneers stayed in second spot by virtue of of a 16-12 success over their Connacht rivals Galwegians at Dubarry Park. Paul Harte scored the only try of the game.

Bruff continued their climb up the table, moving into third spot, after defeating Dungannon 21-10, while an improved UCC got the better of UL Bohemians 32-23.

In Division Two, the snow ruined the action on Saturday as just four of the scheduled matches took place, with the leading sides all sitting out the day's play.

Bective missed a chance to close the gap on Ballynahinch and UCD as they slipped to a 13-11 defeat at Queen's. Midleton's 31-12 away win over Belfast Harlequins moves them up to fifth, while Terenure aren't far behind after beating Malone 29-16. Thomond will be glad their fixture went ahead as they got their first win of the season, a 32-21 victory over winless Clonakilty.

It's six from six for Instonians in Division 3, after they overcame Highfield 18-13 in Cork to keep their promotion bid on course.

Hot on their heels are fellow Ulstermen City of Derry, who are just a point behind after Saturday's 25-22 win over NUIM Barnhall. Banbridge's 35-30 win over Sunday's Well lifts them to third.

Greystones hammered Wanderers 39-5, while there were away wins for Suttonians and Rainey over Connemara and Navan respectively.

Irish Independent

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