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Joyce Drives Clontarf To Musgrave Success

Joyce Drives Clontarf To Musgrave Success

Clontarf set up a mouth-watering top of the table clash with early Division 1A leaders Lansdowne next week after battling past Dolphin in a pulsating game at Musgrave Park.

For a second week in a row, Clontarf managed to cancel out an early deficit and they have out-half David Joyce to thank for a hard-fought 22-16 victory at Dolphin.

Andy Wood's charges trailed 13-0 by the 24th minute and had lock Tom Byrne in the sin-bin for a professional foul, with their Musgrave Park hosts taking chance after chance.

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From a turnover, Steve Dinan dinked an inviting kick through for onrushing centre Eamonn Mills to touch down in the 12th minute and Rory Scannell converted. Mills did well to win the race to the bouncing ball ahead of Rob McGrath.

Former Ireland Under-20 international Scannell – starting at out-half in place of assistant coach Barry Keeshan – added a penalty three minutes later, rewarding some aggressive defence from the fired-up home forwards.

Dolphin continued to dictate matters on the scoreboard as Scannell split the posts again following Byrne's yellow, but Scannell's opposite number Joyce came alive approaching half-time as 'Tarf claimed two tries in a dazzling four-minute period.

They built through the phases – 12 in all – before creating an opening for new centre Michael Brown to score an unconverted 36th minute try.

Suddenly, it was all 'Tarf as Joyce followed up on a break by his half-back partner Peter du Toit to dot down by the posts. He added the extras for a 13-12 scoreline at the turnaround.

Having watched Scannell miss a place-kick at the other end, Joyce edged the now wind-backed Clontarf in front with a thumping 45-metre effort and by the hour mark the Tullamore man had taken his tally to 17 points via a second converted try.

Despite losing replacement Killian O'Keeffe to the sin-bin, Dolphin replied in the 76th minute with a superb Scannell penalty from halfway.

The playing numbers were evened up late on but the home side's push for a last-gasp try went unrewarded with Clontarf forcing a final relieving turnover on their own line.

Referee: Mark Patton (IRFU)