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Blackrock Floored By Old Belvedere Comeback

Blackrock Floored By Old Belvedere Comeback

Old Belvedere completed a remarkable second half comeback to inflict a second All-Ireland League defeat on Blackrock College at Stradbrook on Saturday.

In the early stages, Backrock out-half Ian Madigan (twice) and his Old Belvedere counterpart Conal Keane (once) traded early penalty misses.

Madigan eventually put the home side 3-0 up a quarter-of-an-hour in, as Belvedere were punished for coming in at the side of a ruck.

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Belvedere had the chance to draw level on 19 minutes when Blackrock were penalised for going offside, but Keane once again failed to convert the opportunity a little off centre but inside Blackrock's 22.

The visitors continued to threaten with Leo Auva'a driving forward on three occasions and winger David Mongan's pace causing problems for the Blackock rearguard.

But, against the run of play, Blackrock centre Brendan Macken intercepted a sloppy pass from Keane on the visitors' 10-metre line and ran in to touch down under the posts in the 26th minute, with Madigan adding the conversion.

Six minutes later, 'Belvo got off the mark. Blackrock captain Des Dillon was sin-binned and Keane got his first points of the game from the resulting penalty.

A high tackle by Ben Woods gave Blackrock the chance to restore their ten-point lead but Madigan missed from 40 metres out.

Although 'Belvo went into the break 10-3 down, they could take heart from the number of chances they created but time after time, handling errors prevented them, and to a lesser extent Blacrock, from getting into a rhythm.

The stop-start nature of the game helped neither team, nor the game as a spectacle, with both sides making most headway when their forwards carried at close quarters. But when the ball went wide, both sets of backs were static at times and unable to finish off the opportunities created.

The second half began like the first, with handling errors putting an end to any attack either side created and Blackrock making the most of each opportunity.

After driving forward, phase after phase, number 8 Mick Carroll crossed the whitewash to give Blackrock a firm grasp of the game. Madigan's conversion stretched their lead to 17-3 within ten minutes of the restart.

Another Madigan penalty seem to put Blacktock out of sight, but back came Belvedere. Lock Alan Trenier drove over the line and then full-back Daniel Riordan raced clear to touch down under the posts. Keane kicked one of the conversions, bringing the visitors back to within a try of the now fading Blackrock.

The unthinkable became a reality, with four minutes remaining, when Dean Moore drew a defender before offloading to provide flanker and captain Richie Leyden with the easiest of finishes. Keane's conversion gave Belvedere a sudden two-point lead.

The visitors continued to attack and Leyden made the win secure when finishing off a move after Auva'a had broken clear. Keane again added the conversion to seal an encouraging away win for Phil Werahiko's men.

Referee: Alan Lewis (IRFU)