Dolphin survived a second half onslaught from UL Bohemians to battle to their first win of the AIB League campaign in a nine-try thriller at Musgrave Park on Sunday.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION ONE: Sunday, October 12
DOLPHIN 35 UL BOHEMIANS 33, Musgrave Park
Scorers: Dolphin: Tries: Kevin Lynch, Gary O’Keeffe, Fergus Gately, Barry O’Mahony; Cons: Barry Keeshan 3; Pens: Barry Keeshan 2; Drop: Barry Keeshan
UL Bohemians: Tries: Giles Boland, Shaun Payne 2, Penalty try, Martin McPhail; Cons: Fergal Lawler, Paul Warwick 3
Dolphin bossed the opening stages, racing into a 29-0 lead thanks to tries from centre Kevin Lynch, scrum half Gary O’Keeffe, prop Fergus Gately and flanker Barry O’Mahony.
Lynch slipped through for the opening try after 8 minutes, with out-half Barry Keeshan converting.
The AIB Club international number 10 left-footed a penalty after 23 minutes to extend the Cork side’s lead, and O’Keeffe followed up with a seven-pointer from close range.
The Dolphin pack, with Munster’s James Coughlan a big influence at number 8, continued to make good ground as the half wore on.
Bohemians leaked two more tries in the space of four minutes – Gately nudged the hosts onto 22 points before the industrious O’Mahony scored one of the tries of the season.
The 22-year-old Castletroy man won a lineout ball close to his own line, thundered over the 22 and chipped over the Bohs’ defence.
He brilliantly controlled the ball and hacked on twice before piling over the whitewash for a memorable score.
Keeshan converted for a 29-0 score-line and Bohs almost only had pride left to play for.
But they managed to halt the one-way traffic before half-time. Gately was sin-binned for a professional foul and the visitors quickly worked young centre Giles Boland over for a converted try.
22 points in arrears at the break, Bohs brought Munster out-half Paul Warwick on for the second half and he made quite a difference.
Keeshan extended Dolphin’s lead to 32-7 with a well-taken drop goal, scored just a minute after the restart.
But Warwick got the Bohs’ back-line clicking and the current Munster team manager Shaun Payne, making a rare start for the Limerick side, nabbed a 46th minute try.
Payne lined out on the left wing and after Bohs had scored a controversially-awarded penalty, the South African got over for his second touchdown.
Bohs were heaping the pressure on the home side, at this stage, and the Dolphin support breathed a sigh of relief when Keeshan kicked a 35-metre penalty to make it 35-26.
That proved to be the match-winning score as despite an injury-time try from Bohs’ captain Martin McPhail, which Warwick converted, Dolphin managed to hold on for the victory.
The Cork side’s captain Dave Harty accepted the Dave Barry Cup afterwards, which is named after the British & Irish Lions selector who won cup medals with both Dolphin and Bohs.
The five points moves Dolphin up to ninth in the Division One table, while Bohs, thanks to their losing bonus point, are still well-positioned in sixth place.