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Drama to the very end in our Ulster Bank League away game to Old Belvedere

November 7, 2018

 

We started the game very well. Always going to be thefavourites going into this fixture given the way the season has panned out forboth clubs, our boys were confident and dominated the first 25 minutes. Evenearly on Darren Gallagher was proving aforce in the air at the line-out, and our first try came from a turnover by MikeKelliher at halfway which was moved wideto Darragh O’Neill on theopposite wing. O’Neill used his combination of pace and power to score in thecorner giving us the first points on the board. A breeze wasn’t helping WillieStaunton’s kicking early on, one penaltyhad already gotten away from him, and he couldn’t land the conversion from thetouchline but he had another shot at goal on 18 minutes and landed the penaltyto make the score 8-0 in our favour.

 

Five minutes later, a Belvo player spilled the ball in our22 which was collected by our nimble tighthead prop Alan Cotter (aka ‘Barney’). Cotter proceeded to sprint 60mdownfield causing the traveling support to erupt on the sidelines, and time aperfect offload to Mark Doyle totouch down over the line. The conversion kick didn’t find its target in anuncharacteristic number of misses for Staunton so the score remained 13-0 to usafter 23 minutes.

 

It didn’t stay like that for long however, before the halfhour Old Belvedere had breached our line for a try of their own in the rightcorner by Daniel Riordan. Aidan Wynne missed the conversion to leave the scoreat 13-8 to us on 35 minutes.

We had a tough five minutes until the break as Old Belvedereshowed more confidence following their try and upped the intensity of theirattack. Following some below par kicking out of hand we found ourselves on theback foot defending ferociously before the whistle with supporters praying forhalf-time to come, and eventually it did, following a timely turnover by JamesO’Neill (‘Ham’).

 

Five minutes into the second half, Belvo were to strikeagain. Stephen Crosbie found a gap after several waves of attack in our 22, andhe nipped in under the posts to touch down. Wynne added the conversion to bringthe score to 15-13 in Belvo’s favour but minutes later, Willie rectified thescoreboard and took us ahead 16-15 slotting over a penalty.

 

The last half hour was neck and neck. Gallagher had a superbsteal in the line-out, Old Belvedere’s (and Leinster’s) Leo Auva’a received ayellow card from George Clancy but Willie’s resulting penalty went wide. At onestage Neville Melbourne looked like hemight get in from a block down but he just knocked on trying to collect theball. Our scrum heaped the pressure on the Dublin side but we failed tocapitalize while they were down to 14 men.

Ten minutes from time, the home support were celebratingwhat they thought was a try but Ref Clancy deemed otherwise as the playerdidn’t get the ball down before trundling into touch. On 73 minutes OldBelvedere did have something to celebrate however, as Wynne landed a penalty totake them ahead 18-16.

 

We had been out played in the second half only scoring onepenalty while Belvo knocked up 10 points yet we somehow held in there andnobody was ready to leave here without a fight to the bitter end. Old Belvederewere looking for their first win of the season, and they hadn’t forgotten theopening game when we met in Limerick in October, a game which many there feelwas a sign of things to come for their season. We knew a defeat here would verylikely knock us out of contention for the league title.

 

Finding ourselves behind on 73 minutes to the bottom side inthe league having underperformed for most of the game and taken no scores whilewe had the extra man would take its toll on many teams. But this is where yourmettle is tested, and the character of the team reveals itself. In the fewminutes after that Belvo penalty, we were more clinical and composed than wehad been for the whole half. The lads knew exactly what they had to do, getdownfield, recycle ball carefully, get Willie into position and send it backfor the drop. And this is exactly what they did, clinical and methodical andStaunton showed no sign of any lingering doubts from the earlier misses as heslotted it over perfectly – job done, thank you.

 

The drama didn’t end there however. In the final play of thegame, Mr Clancy penalised us from the restart and awarded an immediate penaltyto Old Belvedere 30 metres out.

 

This was the game decider, it was all down to thisvery-kickable penalty. We hoped on the sidelines that somehow it wouldn’t goover, but nobody expected Wynne to miss it. But he did. And that was it, finalwhistle, game over.

 

Final Score: Old Belvedere 18 – 19 Young Munster

 

SCORERS – Old Belvedere 18 (Daniel Riordan try, StephenCrosbie try, con, Aidan Wynne two pens); Young Munster 19 (Darragh O’Neill,Mark Doyle try each, Willie Staunton two pens, drop goal).

 

Young Munster – Ray Moloney; Mark Doyle, Andrew Burke, MikeKelliher, Darragh O’Neill; Willie Staunton, Mike Prendergast; Ger Flaherty, GerSlattery, Alan Cotter; Darren Gallagher, Shane O’Neill; Liam Og Murphy, JamesO’Neill, Neville Melbourne. Replacements: Ger Bourke, Hugh McGrath, JohnMoroney, Mark Rowley, Declan Bannon.

 

 

Only 4 games to go …

 

YM UBL GAME 15 – Clontarf at home 24/03/12 [*book now forthis Pre-Match Lunch]

 

YM UBL GAME 16 –Lansdowne away 31/03/12

 

YM UBL GAME 17 – Dolphin at home 14/04/12 [*book now forthis Pre-Match Lunch]

 

YM UBL GAME 18 –St. Mary’s away 21/04/12

 

* to reserve your place at the Pre-Match Lunches forClontarf and Dolphin at home, contact Brendan Collopy at 086-6062606 or FergalDeegan 086-2265692. €25 includes admission, 2-course lunch with wine and matchprogramme. All are welcome.

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