10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
DOLPHIN 14 GARRYOWEN 9, Musgrave Park
Scorers: Dolphin: Try: Rory Kenneally; Pens: Barry Keeshan 2; Drop: Denis McCarthy
Garryowen: Pens: Conor Kilroy 3
Garryowen came into this game off the back of ten straight AIB League wins since they drew 17-17 with Shannon back in mid-October. But they got off to the worst possible start against a fired-up Dolphin side.
Garryowen failed to gather the kick-off and two quick passes sent Rory Kenneally through for a try after barely 20 seconds' play. Barry Keeshan missed his conversion attempt but it was very much advantage Dolphin early on.
Garryowen, who topped the table going into the game, regained their poise and backed by the wind, they eked out a series of chances which deadly place-kicker Conor Kilroy was not going to turn down.
He bisected the posts after 9, 21 and 32 minutes to move the light Blues into a 9-5 lead and that was difference at half-time.
This was the meeting of first and fourth in the top flight and Garryowen had the heavier sprinkling of contracted players, calling on Kieran Lewis, John O'Sullivan and Conan Doyle with fit-again scrum half Gerry Hurley another Munster-capped player.
Talismanic back rower James Coughlan was Dolphin's sole Munster player on show and he was particularly prominent on open play as the Corkmen tried to close the gap.
Despite Garryowen winning the scrum battle and holding their own in the lineout, a spiralling penalty count was beginning to hurt them and AIB Club international player Keeshan did the necessary for Dolphin.
He converted penalties after 61 and 72 minutes to move Dave O'Mahony's men back in front at 11-9.
And the match-winning score came two minutes from the end when full-back Denis McCarthy landed a terrific drop goal from close to the 10-metre line.
The victory has moved Dolphin up to second and they are level on 47 points with Cork Con above them and Shannon in third.
But their final match next weekend will be a semi-final shoot-out as they have to visit eight-time league winners Shannon.
Garryowen are fourth after this setback and will be chasing a bonus point win at home to Galwegians next Saturday in order to guarantee themselves a play-off spot.