The boot of Jamie Gavin was the deciding factor for Garryowen who had a comfortable win over Dolphin at Dooradoyle on Friday night.
Out-half Jamie Gavin struck an early penalty and had two more on the board when helping his side to a 9-3 interval lead, with his opposite number Eamonn Mills kicking Dolphin's points.
Garryowen dominated the second half but could manage only a single try thanks to a resolute Dolphin defence.
But they were eventually breached when former Clontarf captain Barry O'Mahony got in after a fine back-line move which involved five players.
Gavin put over the conversion and then added his fourth penalty to complete a win that will enhance Garryowen's hopes of a higher placing than last season.
Their new assistant coach and former captain, Paul Neville, said afterwards: “It is only our first game. There is a long way to go but it was the start we needed.”
Referee: Eanna O'Dowd (IRFU)