Old Belvedere saw off Terenure College 18-8 at Anglesea Road on Saturday, but the result was not enough to send Paul Cunningham’s men into the Division 1A play-offs as Young Munster – 15-5 winners over Lansdowne – pipped them to fourth place.
The reliable right boot of Josh Glynn was the difference as the Old Belvedere winger landed six of his seven penalty attempts, but second-placed Terenure did not help themselves with two players sin-binned in either half.
Glynn was given his first opportunity in the third minute when Terenure were penalised for pulling down Kieran O'Gorman in a lineout. Although Glynn sent his opening effort to the right of the posts, he was not to be denied five minutes later.
First a knock-on gave Old Belvedere an attacking scrum on the 'Nure 22. The visitors were then penalised for infringing at the scrum and Glynn split the posts for a 3-0 lead.
'Nure, who rested some of their regulars ahead of the play-offs, ran the ball at every opportunity. One such attack saw scrum half Kevin O'Neill snipe through the 'Belvo defence on halfway, centre Stephen O'Neill carried it on before lock John Dever was unable to link with the support runners.
A thumping Daniel Riordan clearance and 'Belvo managed to double their lead on the quarter hour, infringements in the lineout and then the scrum leading to a kickable chance which Glynn took with confidence.
Further Terenure indiscipline was punished by Glynn who gave the hosts a 12-0 advantage by the 23-minute mark, as referee Mark Patton pinged the visitors for a couple of ruck offences.
Nonetheless, Terenure were back in contention when a long clearance kick bounced away from the 'Belvo cover and the onrushing 'Nure backs gobbled possession up. Some quick hands then released Stephen O'Neill for a try. James Thornton's conversion was held up by the wind.
The ferocity of the challenges was summed up by a monstrous tackle from Fergal Walsh on Cathal O'Flynn with the latter needing a breather before he continued playing.
'Belvo really should have been further ahead than 12-5, particularly after Terenure hooker Robbie Smyth was sin-binned as referee Patton lost his patience with the visitors' indiscipline at the breakdown.
Paul Cunningham's men did have a crack at enhancing their seven-point lead before the break as they switched play from left to right, attempting to exploit some space out wide, but Glynn knocked on in contact.
As the rain pelted down five minutes after the restart, conditions grew more difficult and neither try-line was threatened until the 55th minute. Aidan Wynne kicked a penalty to the corner and Conor Owende's lineout catch set up a chance for flanker O'Gorman to burst through but he was just held up on the line.
The penalties continued to stack up against Terenure, though, and Glynn converted his fifth successful kick before Terenure captain James O'Neill found himself in the sin-bin.
Despite having a numerical advantage for the second time in the match, Belvedere were again unable to break down the resolute Terenure defence. James Blaney's side even won turnover possession via a scrum in their 22.
Glynn and Thornton traded penalties in the dying minutes, with 'Belvo comfortably seeing out their third straight victory at the tail-end of the season. However, their push for the play-offs came just too late as the Anglesea Road outfit were left to rue a bad run between November and February when they lost seven out of eight games.
Referee: Mark Patton (IRFU)