Old Belvedere moved two points clear at the top of AIB League Division 1B with a polished win over Galwegians at Anglesea Road on Saturday afternoon. It was the Dublin 4 side’s first ever league victory over the Galway men.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, February 20
OLD BELVEDERE 31 GALWEGIANS 3, Anglesea Road
Scorers: Old Belvedere: Tries: Richie Leyden, Kieran Hurrell, Max Rantz-McDonald, Leo Auva’a; Cons: Andy Dunne 4; Pen: Andy Dunne
Galwegians: Pen: Rob O’Beirn
With plenty of invention out wide and no little grunt up front, Phil Werahiko’s Old Belvedere side claimed their fifth victory in six league games.
Galwegians, who won 13-12 when the sides met in Glenina in November, opened the scoring with a third minute penalty from full-back Rob O’Beirn.
‘Wegians have been somewhat of a bogey team for Old Belvedere and Werahiko’s table toppers initially struggled to break down the visitors’ defence.
But ‘Belvo, with their heavier pack edging things up front, turned around at half-time with a 17-3 lead, following tries from ex-Leinster man Richie Leyden and promising back Kieran Hurrell.
Another former provincial player, Andy Dunne, who is reveling in his player-coach role, converted both tries and added a penalty shortly before the break.
Dunne, also the hosts’ team captain, combined well with fellow former Connacht half-back, Chris Keane, and the pair kept ‘Belvo on the front foot.
‘Wegians tried their utmost to find a route back into the game, aided the appearance of Connacht lock Dave Nolan off the bench. The former Ireland Under-20 international has missed most the current season with a shoulder injury.
But further tries from pack powerhouse Leo Auva’a and former Clontarf winger Max Rantz-McDonald put ‘Belvo out of sight.
OLD BELVEDERE: Kieran Hurrell; Max Rantz-McDonald, Eoin O’Malley, Conal Keane, John Kennedy; Andy Dunne (capt), Chris Keane; Vinnie Soden, Mark Cooney, Stewart Maguire, Richie Leyden, Alan Trenier, Jonathan Slattery, Jason Risdon, Leo Auva’a.
GALWEGIANS: Rob O’Beirn; Tiernan O’Halloran, Brian Murphy, Dave Clarke, John Cleary; Ross Shaughnessy, Ronan Dillon; Ja Naughton, Dermot Murphy, Jamie Stephens, Liam Scahill, Brian McClearn, Derek Boyd, Ivan Muldoon (capt), Eoin McKeon.
Replacements: Ronan Loughney, Conor Muldoon, Dave Nolan, Tom Ellard, Aifai Esera.
Referee: John Lacey (IRFU)