Garryowen required a last-gasp penalty from their scrum half Gerry Hurley to guided them past a battling Dolphin side at Dooradoyle on Saturday, while Cork Constitution maintained their run at the top of the Division One table thanks to an 18-7 home triumph against Old Belvedere.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION ONE: Saturday, November 10
Garryowen 19 Dolphin 18, Dooradoyle
Scorers: Garryowen: Try: Conan Doyle; Con: Conor Kilroy; Pens: Conor Kilroy 2, Gerry Hurley; Drop: Conor Kilroy
Dolphin: Tries: James Coughlan, Eric Maloney; Con: Barry Keeshan; Pens: Barry Keeshan 2
Garryowen almost slipped to their second successive AIB League defeat as Dolphin pressed last season’s Division One champions hard at Dooradoyle.
Garryowen required a last-minute penalty from scrum half Gerry Hurley who stood in as place kicker, to beat the Corkmen on a 19-18 score-line. Dolphin led 13-10 at half-time with Barry Keeshan kicking two penalties to add to a James Coughlan try.
Out-half Conan Doyle had touched down for Garryowen and while centre Eric Maloney bagged a second Dolphin try, full-back Conor Kilroy (11 points) and Hurley kicked Garryowen home.
Having lost 8-6 to arch rivals Shannon last weekend, Garryowen needed a win to keep the pressure on the top four and they did just enough on Saturday to raise their standing from sixth place to third.
Still, there were plenty of errors for coaches Dara Ryan and Greig Oliver to iron out ahead of the Limerick side’s crunch trip to table toppers Cork Constitution next weekend.
For Dolphin, this was very much a missed opportunity and they paid the price for having two players sin-binned in the closing stages. The Cork club were also agonisingly beaten 24-23 on their last Division One visit to Dooradoyle in March 2004.
Dolphin opened the scoring with a well-struck third-minute penalty from Keeshan before Doyle finished off a neat tee-up from Hurley and his pack for a try on the quarter-hour mark.
Kilroy converted and tagged on a penalty but Dolphin hit back with ten points before the break – Munster-capped back rower Coughlan grabbed a fine try which Keeshan converted and the visitors’ out-half also succeeded with a 35-metre penalty attempt in the dying embers of the half.
A penalty and drop goal from Kilroy, who was off-colour with his kicking last week against Shannon, saw Garryowen nip ahead at 16-13 before centre Maloney burst through for his second league try in six days.
That looked to be the match-winning score but Keeshan’s missed conversion proved extremely costly when Hurley, who filled in for the replaced Kilroy, stepped up to boot Garryowen to victory in deepest injury-time.
Cork Constitution 18 Old Belvedere 7, Temple Hill
Scorers: Cork Constitution: Tries: Richie Lane 2; Con: Richie Lane; Pens: Richie Lane 2
Old Belvedere: Try: Barry Kinsella; Con: Richie Murphy
Richie Lane did all of Cork Constitution’s points scoring at Temple Hill on Saturday afternoon as they saw off a dogged Old Belvedere side, winning by 18-7.
Winger Lane, who usually plays at full-back, scored two tries and kicked a conversion and two penalties to keep Con top of the table after three wins from three.
Lane touched down after 10 and 25 minutes to set up a 15-7 interval lead for the hosts who leaked a fourth-minute try to Belvedere’s Barry Kinsella.
In a stop-start game, a Lane penalty was the only score of the second half as Con secured the points despite never hitting top gear. With Munster’s Jeremy Manning named at out-half, Con selected a full strength side for the meeting with last season’s beaten Division Two finalists.
Belvedere included two stars of recent Ireland underage sides in their line-up – the Under-20s’ Felix Jones at full-back and Under-19 World Cup player Eoin O’Malley in the centre – and as ever, they had the experienced Richie Murphy pulling the strings at out-half.
The Dubliners had been unfortunate not to gain more out of their recent games against Shannon and Dolphin than two losing bonus points and their luck looked like it might change when they skipped in for a fourth-minute try against Con.
A crisp passing move led to inside centre Kinsella charging through and over the whitewash, allowing Murphy to ping the conversion over from close range.
Con took the lead though in the tenth-minute when a simple overlap allowed Lane round in close to the posts for a try which he converted himself. A second try followed for the former Ireland Under-21 international after 25 minutes.
But in a tie that never really got going, two penalties from Lane either side of the break were enough for Con to hold on to their lead and maintain their 100% start to the season, ahead of next Saturday’s mouth-watering clash with defending champions Garryowen at Temple Hill.
Con did have the lion’s share of possession but they could not convert it into points and the closest they came to another score was when a Manning drop goal attempt just went wide of the uprights.