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Determined Dolphin Open Win Account Against Munsters

Determined Dolphin Open Win Account Against Munsters

Dolphin finally put a stop to their winless streak in Ulster Bank League Division 1A with a gutsy 12-11 defeat of seventh-placed Young Munster.

Steve Ford's side failed to score a try in Saturday's provincial derby at Irish Independent Park, but four well-struck first half penalties from Munster-capped out-half Rory Scannell proved to be enough in the end.

There was no real pattern to the game in a disjointed start, although Scannell settled the early nerves by converting a 30-metre penalty in the ninth minute.

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He added a second one just two minutes later as Dolphin began to make inroads up front, aided by a strong spine to their pack – Scannell's brother Rory started at hooker, the experienced Chris Rowe joined David O'Mahony in the engine room and fit-again captain John Fitzgerald anchored the scrum at number 8.

This round 11 fixture began to open up in the second quarter with both teams losing a player to the sin-bin. Scannell and Gearoid Lyons landed the resulting penalties, before a fourth successful kick from the former gave Dolphin a 12-3 interval lead.

Munsters upped the ante in the second period with the newly-introduced Willie Staunton pinning Dolphin back with some fine kicking out of hand.

Barely a minute had elapsed when Connacht recruit Shane O'Leary showed his class to run in a superb 60-metre breakaway try. Ireland Under-19 flanker Ben Kilkenny was involved initially before centre O'Leary darted away to score in the corner.

The conversion was missed but Lyons followed up with a 58th minute penalty to make it a one-point game and set up an intriguing final quarter. It was all hands to the pump for Dolphin defensively, as Munsters mounted attack after attack.

Young Munster replacement Ben Martin missed a long range penalty with four minutes left and Ford's charges managed to hold on for a morale-boosting result which leaves them just three points behind St. Mary's at the foot of the table.

Referee: Andy Brace (IRFU)