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Four-Try Dolphin Hit The Summit

Four-Try Dolphin Hit The Summit

Dolphin are the first table toppers of the new Ulster Bank League Division 1A season, having run four tries past Garryowen in an impressive display at Dooradoyle.

Bearing in mind that Garryowen finished as runners-up last season, this loss could come back to haunt them even with 17 games remaining.

Rory Scannell, who played for the Ireland Under-20s in the summer's Junior World Championship, kicked the opening points for Dolphin with a well-judged penalty whereas Garryowen struggled initially to convert their scoring chances.

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When the Light Blues roamed offside for a second time Scannell punished them again. The visitors pushed 11-0 clear thanks to an intercept try by full-back Eamonn Mills which Scannell converted.

After 36 minutes Garryowen finally got on the scoreboard. A free-flowing move saw James McInerney offload the final pass to winger Andrew O'Byrne for a seven-pointer, making it a four-point game at the break.

Penalties by Jamie Gavin, who had converted O'Byrne's effort, after 44 and 48 minutes nudged Garryowen into a 13-11 lead but that was as good as it got for the home side.

Determined Dolphin were back in front after 54 minutes courtesy of a penalty try from a five-metre scrum and Scannell was on hand to tap over the extras.

Gavin missed an easy Garryowen penalty in front of the posts but a superb individual try by man-of-the-match Scannell, which he converted, sealed the result for the Corkmen.

There was still time for Steve Ford's charges to garner a bonus point courtesy of a fourth try by replacement James Kiernan who ran almost the length of the pitch to score in the right corner.

The five-point return was just reward for Dolphin's inventive backs division, of which Scannell, Cian Bohane and Eric Moloney were the leading lights.

Speaking afterwards to the Irish Examiner, the Cork club's head coach Ford said: “To leave here with a bonus point is absolutely fantastic and I feel we deserved it.

“We are in a good place at the moment and have a good squad, a point well made today by the absence of some of our more experienced players like Christy Condon and Barry Keeshan.

“We were thrilled at the way young Rory Scannell took over from 'Keesh' at out-half and his try was a superb effort, while John Fitzgerald in the back row also made a huge difference.

“Our aim was to build a squad that would withstand the absence of a few injured players and I feel we have that depth. We have the potential to score points and teams will have to work to beat us.”

Referee: George Clancy (IRFU)