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Brilliant Belvedere Serve Up Second Defeat To Lansdowne
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Brilliant Belvedere Serve Up Second Defeat To Lansdowne

Brilliant Belvedere Serve Up Second Defeat To Lansdowne

Shane McDonald and Rory O’Loughlin struck for first half tries as Old Belvedere moved to the top of Ulster Bank League Division 1A on the back of a well-merited 19-0 win over defending champions Lansdowne.

Old Belvedere were in second place in the table heading into this contest, having secured victories over Terenure College, Galwegians and Ballynahinch in the opening weeks of the new season.

'Belvo also picked up a losing bonus point away to Clontarf, while their visitors Lansdowne were smarting from a disappointing reversal at Galwegians which saw them slide down to fifth place.

Leinster and Ireland back rower Jack Conan in attendance to support his former Belvedere team-mates, and he would have been pleased to see them hold firm in defence during the early exchanges.

A powerful 10th minute break by centre Aidan Wynne saw 'Belvo lift the tempo. He offloaded smartly to raiding full-back Daniel Riordan and even though Shane McDonald was evenly closed down out wide, Paul Cunningham's men had established a strong attacking platform.

An audacious chip towards the line by out-half Steve Crosbie almost produced a breakthrough try, but when winger McDonald attempted a similar kick 13 minutes in, he got his reward by winning the race to touch down in the right corner.

Crosbie was off target with the tricky conversion, but there were certainly encouraging signs for Belvedere in the first quarter. A lung-bursting run by Riordan almost led to a second try, yet Lansdowne managed to find some rhythm as the first half progressed.

The headquarters club kept 'Belvo on the back foot for an extended spell and with Adam Boland and Brian Moylett leading by example, they were gaining an upper hand at scrum time.

Nonetheless, 'Belvo possessed the greater attacking threat during the opening period and after spreading the ball wide on the half hour, left winger Rory O'Loughlin dived over in considerable style for try number two.

Crosbie was short with his second conversion attempt but he extended the lead courtesy of a sublime strike from a 39th minute penalty. Scott Deasy's cross-field delivery almost produced a try for Lansdowne on the stroke of half-time, but with O'Loughlin able to gather his kick inside the 22, the visitors had it all to do as they stared at a 13-0 interval deficit.

'Belvo were playing with great confidence and they looked set to add to their advantage when hooker Ed Rossiter broke at pace into the Lansdowne half, barely two minutes after the restart. Rossiter was halted in his tracks before Wynne picked up the ball in a dangerous area, but a wayward pass denied O'Loughlin the opportunity to register his second score of the night.

Although this was a significant let-off for Lansdowne, 'Belvo finally increased their lead when Riordan's superbly-struck drop goal split the posts in the 50th minute.

When Leinster man Crosbie knocked over a second successful penalty at the end of the third quarter (after Riordan had suggested going for the corner), Mike Ruddock's charges were left with a mountain to climb.

Lansdowne showed plenty of endeavour and the sin-binning of Belvedere flanker Kieran O'Gorman with 16 minutes to go offered them a potential lifeline. However, once again, the 'Belvo defence was rock solid as the ever-dangerous Mark Roche was forced into touch on the right wing.

Strong-running centres Tom Farrell and Tom Daly did their utmost to forge an unlikely Lansdowne comeback. Despite their best efforts, they could not break down a disciplined 'Belvo rearguard.

When they were restored to their full complement, the home side continued to showcase their defensive solidity which was a key factor in their fourth league success of the term.

Referee: Leo Colgan (IRFU)

Lineups Scorers

Match Lineups

Home Team

Daniel Riordan; Shane McDonald, John Kennedy, Aidan Wynne, Rory O'Loughlin; Steve Crosbie, Aaron Sheehan; Adam Howard, Ed Rossiter, Darrell Ryan, Conor Owende, Jack Kelly; Michael Oyuga, Kieran O'Gorman, Jonathan Slattery (capt).

Replacements: Cathal O'Flynn, James McWilliams-Grey, Karl Miller, Kevin Barden, Willie Staunton.

Away Team

Eamonn Mills; Mark Roche, Tom Farrell, Tom Daly, Cian O'Donoghue; Scott Deasy (capt), Matt D'Arcy; Ian Prendiville, James Rael, Adam Boland, Brian Moylett, Josh O'Rourke, Max Deegan, Joe O'Brien, Ross Deacon.

Replacements: Jack McKenna, Jack Barry, Philip Donnellan, Paddy O'Driscoll, Ferdia Doherty.

Match Scorers

Home Team

Tries: Shane McDonald, Rory O'Loughlin; Pens: Steve Crosbie 2; Drop: Daniel Riordan

Away Team