St. Mary’s College made it four AIB League Division 1A wins on the spin at Templeville Road on Saturday afternoon, defeating a highly-regarded Dolphin outfit 19-10.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, October 31
ST. MARY’S COLLEGE 19 DOLPHIN 10, Templeville Road
Scorers: St. Mary’s College: Tries: Robin Copeland 2, Darragh Fanning; Cons: Gavin Dunne 2
Dolphin: Try: Barry O’Mahony; Con: Barry Keeshan; Pen: Barry Keeshan
In a competitive and entertaining encounter, St. Mary’s struck for tries at crucial times and defended with admirable conviction during a tense finale.
The opening quarter was packed up honest rugby as both teams enjoyed small pockets of dominance. But it was the hosts who grabbed the early scores.
Dolphin were on the front foot initially with Munster’s Nick Williams providing plenty of aggression, but St. Mary’s defended well.
Having absorbed Dolphin’s enthusiastic start, the Dubliners then showed a few glimpses of skill with player-coach Shaun McCarthy probing from his out-half station.
St. Mary’s were rewarded in the 15th minute when second row Robin Copeland pinched a lineout and crashed through for an opportunistic try – his third of the league campaign.
Full-back Gavin Dunne added the extras from an acute angle and St. Mary’s were armed with a seven-point lead.
And that advantage was extended just three minutes later, when Stephen Grissing made a dashing break which fashioned a chance for wide man Darragh Fanning who scampered clear for a crafty try.
Dolphin required a score and their captain Barry Keeshan stroked over a 26th minute penalty to cut the deficit to 12-3.
Keeshan was kicking into the corners was trademark precision and though the home side dealt with the resultant lineouts impressively, Dolphin still nicked a try three minutes before the interval.
Scrum half Sam Cronin’s neat reverse pass found flanker Barry O’Mahony who touched down under the posts, ensuring Keeshan easily converted.
Though St. Mary’s were under pressure, they claimed a try on the stroke of half-time when Copeland scooped up a loose ball and finished with a flourish.
Dunne’s conversion was good and St. Mary’s went in at the break with a 19-10 advantage.
After the restart, the weather deteriorated as rain poured from a grim, grey sky, making underfoot conditions extremely difficult.
The St. Mary’s pack kept the contest tight, completely aware that unbeaten Dolphin needed to register scores rapidly.
But they did not arrive and the improving home side prevailed by nine points. With Blackrock losing at Clontarf, St. Mary’s have regained top spot in the division – they have a three-point lead at the summit.