Josh Eden-Whaitiri and Steve Crosbie were the heroes for Old Belvedere at Templeville Road as their respective try and conversion in injury-time floored St. Mary’s College.
In this battle between league champions past and present, it was the current holders St. Mary’s who drew first blood when full-back Gavin Dunne split the posts with his second penalty attempt, five minutes in.
Old Belvedere responded to this early concession, levelling matters with a penalty from out-half Steve Crosbie three minutes later.
Indeed, having been on the back foot themselves early on, it was now the turn of the visitors to exert some pressure in what turned out to be a tight and tense encounter.
The St. Mary’s defence had to be alert to stop them from breaking through on a couple of occasions. Nevertheless, it was the hosts who had the next scoring opportunity on the quarter hour mark.
Dunne was narrowly wide with a long range penalty attempt, but the Templeogue men did not have long to wait for their next score – winger Conor Hogan crossed for the opening try midway through the first half, following a neat offload from prop Colm McMahon.
Dunne converted and added to his tally with a second successful penalty after 27 minutes. As the half drew to a close ‘Belvo started to pile on the pressure, but it was proving to carve open the well-drilled St. Mary’s defence.
After an open and frenetic first period, the concluding 40 minutes proved to be somewhat scrappy and stop-start. ‘Belvo showed the early intent and cut into the home side’s advantage with a Crosbie penalty.
A 54th minute penalty from Dunne restored a 10-point lead for Hugh Hogan’s men, but the 2011 champions gave themselves a lifeline in the 66th minute with a much-needed try.
Young flanker Jack Conan touched down in the right corner at the end of a sweeping move across the St. Mary’s line. This intensified the pressure on St. Mary’s who looked like they had just enough in the tank to hold out.
New second row Josh Eden-Whaitiri had other ideas though, and he pounced for ‘Belvo’s vital second try four minutes into injury-time after a long spell of pressure in the hosts’ 22.
It was then left to the reliable Crosbie to seal a most impressive comeback for Old Belvedere, giving them their second straight league win in the process.
Referee: Sean Gallagher (IRFU)