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This was arguably the perfect comeback as the win sees Dolphin overtake Blackrock and jump three places to fifth, giving them a confidence boost ahead of four weeks of back-to-back games at what is a pivotal point in the Division 1A campaign.

Dolphin's capacity to build their phases patiently and strike at the correct moment separated them as the dominant force at Stradbrook.

Blackrock's indiscipline at the breakdown made it all the more simple for the Cork side to notch up the necessary scores to see off the game early in the second half.

Speaking after the Ulster Bank League encounter, Dolphin boss Steve Ford said: "I think what we wanted to do was put in an honest team performance today and I thought we dominated quite a few facets of the game today and that held us in to get the result we needed. I think we were good for the win today to be honest."

An early penalty from out-half and captain Barry Keeshan and an intercept try from winger Cian Bohane gave Dolphin a 10-0 lead.

However, Blackrock soon began to find their flow and through three penalties from centre Rob Keogh, they found themselves well in the mix trailing 13-9 at half-time.

"I think in the first 20 minutes we played well and got our just rewards, but I thought for the second 20 minutes of the first half we allowed them back into the game and they got penalties from our mistakes," added Welshman Ford.

"Going into the second half we said to ourselves - try to play territory a little, try to get in position and hold possession and that's what we did.

"We went through the phases in the second half and we got our penalties and we got our scores in the end."

The talismanic Keeshan outclassed his opponents early in the second half by scoring 12 unanswered points to put the game beyond 'Rock's reach. The Ireland club international delivered an error-free kicking performance with seven from seven, along with a fine drop goal.

"'Keesh' was huge today. I could say to the boys, not one man wins the game - it's the 15 of them. But the team has to get them opportunities to build phases to give him penalties to kick scores.

"All in all, I thought Barry had a pretty good game today to be honest."

Centre Danny Barnes put a gloss on the final scoreline with a nicely-executed try under posts, before 'Rock replied in the last minute with a consolation try from winger David Rowan.

Asked what was the key to Dolphin's turnaround from that hammering by Young Munster three weeks ago, Ford said: "We worked really hard for the last three weeks and I knew we had a performance in us today. It was a dramatic change from the Munsters game but a good response, which was what was needed.

"It's a good result. We haven't played rugby, bar the Munsters game, since December 4 and now we've got five weeks of rugby and that's going to be hard on all squads."

Blackrock College head coach Andy Wood now has his work cut out for him going into a tough contest against second-placed Old Belvedere next weekend, with a three-game losing streak behind his side.

"There were a lot of errors out there today. When we've been at our best, we've built structured attacks and we've made the right decisions but today we were struggling to get through two or three phases, we were turning the ball over and giving away penalties and that's what cost us," he admitted.

"In fairness to Dolphin, Fordy's got them well drilled and they're a good unit. They showed a huge amount of patience, a huge amount of discipline.

"We were missing Andrew Conway and Brendan Macken as they were at training camp with the Ireland Under-20s and they're quality players.

"We'd like to have them but we've got enough quality out there to do a job, when we click and when we connect."

Blackrock now occupy eighth place in the table and will need to inspire a massive turnaround if they are going to get themselves into the top half of the table.

"Now it's a matter of regrouping and we need to make sure we can surpass today's physical effort because it's a big game for us next week against Old Belvedere. Plenty to be done."

Related Links -

Keeshan Inspires Dolphin To Encouraging Win

Blackrock College RFC

Dolphin RFC

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20 June 2018
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