Monday 11 December 2017

Riordan brace keeps surprise packages Belvo hot on leaders' trail

AIL Round-Up

OLD BELVEDERE continued to defy the odds as they moved into third position in Division1A.

OLD BELVEDERE continued to defy the odds as they moved into third position in Division1A.

Their 30-26 bonus point victory over Ballynahinch at Anglesea Road on Saturday leaves them just a point behind new leaders Clontarf and level on points with second-placed UCD. It's quite a response from a side rated as 100/1 outsiders at the start of the league.

They have lost only one of five outings and are the only team to have beaten Clontarf. To remain contenders, there's little doubt their full-back and captain Danny Riordan will be a key figure.

Riordan gave a superb performance against Ballynahinch, scoring two of their four tries, before being shown a yellow card with six minutes left.

Belvo ended up clinging on to their lead at the finish. But their victory was well deserved, as they outscored their opponents by four tries to two.

While it wasn't Belvo's best display of the season, credit must go to Ballynahinch. Despite having prop Michael Comie yellow-carded, they went in at the interval only 18-17 behind, with wing David McIlwaine and centre Stuart Morrow scoring tries.

Belvo responded with two tries from Riordan and second-row Josh Eden-Whatiri, while out-half Steve Crosbie landed two penalties and a conversion.

CONTROL

The hosts then took control with further tries from their impressive flanker Jack Conan and Riordan, one of which was converted by Crosbie, to give them a 30-20 advantage. But Ballynahinch just wouldn't go away and Richie Lobb added two penalties to the one he kicked earlier in the half to provide a very exciting finish.

Remarkably, there are now just four points covering the top seven sides in the table. Ballynahinch remain second from bottom without a victory, but they have picked up four bonus points.

Terenure College continue to lead the way in Division 1B following a 26-17 bonus-point away success over Dublin University at Sydney Parade. Scrum-half Kevin O'Neill scored two of their tries, with the others coming from James O'Donoghue and Kyle McCoy.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Shannon beat UL Bohemians 13-9 in the Limerick derby at Coonagh, with Greg O'Shea scoring the crucial try.

A fine performance by Peter Nelson, who scored 17 points, enabled Dungannon to overcome Blackrock College 32-21 at Stradbrook, while Belfast Harlequins beat Malone 25-15 in the remaining game at Gibsonk Park.

Irish Independent

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