Dolphin climbed two places in AIB League Division 1A with a deserved 17-0 victory over a disappointing Clontarf side at Musgrave Park on Sunday.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Sunday, January 31
DOLPHIN 17 CLONTARF 0, Musgrave Park
Scorers: Dolphin: Tries: Andy O’Driscoll, James Coughlan, Paul Hurley; Con: Cormac O’Flynn
With St. Mary’s slipping up against Shannon on Saturday and Blackrock College without a game, Dolphin took full advantage to leapfrog the Dublin duo and nestle into third place in the table, six points adrift of new leaders Shannon.
Steve Ford’s side lined out once again without talismanic captain Barry Keeshan, but they did have Munster’s James Coughlan anchoring their scrum and Under-20 talent Cormac O’Flynn has proven an able deputy for Keeshan at out-half.
Clontarf had Martin Dufficy and Paul O’Donohoe pulling the strings for them at half-back and in-form winger Michael Keating looked threatening in the first half, but Dolphin’s well-drilled defence left the visitors ultimately frustrated.
Having lost to Blackrock last week, sixth-placed ‘Tarf needed a win to get back on the rails but leaking tries to hooker Andy O’Driscoll and number 8 Coughlan, they were 12-0 behind at the break.
Dolphin settled well and pounded away through their hard-working forwards, squeezing O’Driscoll over for a well-executed score and Coughlan used his power to do likewise coming up to half-time.
Missed penalties and handling errors did little for ‘Tarf’s confidence levels and Dolphin, with lock Chris Rowe and Munster prop Dave Ryan putting in impressive shifts, sucked in enough defenders for winger Paul Hurley to grab a third try.
The bonus point score never came and any hope of a fightback from the north Dubliners faded as Dolphin kept their line intact to make it three wins in four league games and complete a season’s double over ‘Tarf – they beat them 27-19 at Castle Avenue in October.