Out-half Barry Keeshan was the toast of Musgrave Park on Saturday afternoon as he struck a late drop goal and penalty to guide Dolphin to a 16-9 victory over Shannon.
This was a real arm wrestle of a match, with the wet conditions playing their part in making it a forwards-dominated game.
Munster back rower James Coughlan marked his 100th league game for Dolphin with a 24th minute try, which team captain Barry Keeshan converted to add to an earlier penalty.
Coughlan got over after Shannon had lost their lock and captain Fergal Walsh to the sin-bin, for killing Dolphin ball close to his try-line. Dolphin's pack profited from the ensuing scrum.
Young out-half Gareth Quinn McDonogh struck a penalty from the 22-metre line to reduce the arrears for Shannon to 10-3, with Dolphin lock Chris Rowe having just been yellow card.
Dolphin had a large chunk of the territory and possession but could not add to their tally – Walsh put in a great try-saving tackle – and Shannon would have gone in the happier at half-time, with a wind advantage to come.
The visiting pack enjoyed a period of dominance in the third quarter, and Quinn McDonogh stuck over two further penalties to whittle Dolphin's lead down to a single point.
His first kick came after a surging midfield run from winger Luke O'Dea, and Stephen Kelly, on the opposite flank, was causing plenty of problems as the game wore on.
However, Dolphin's pack eeked out the hard yards when it mattered most, and Keeshan did the rest to kick the Corkmen to an encouraging win.
He landed a drop goal in the 76th minute and stretched the lead to seven points in injury-time.
It was certainly a confidence-boosting result for Dolphin as they had six league debutants in their starting line-up, and Keeshan really showed his mettle after missing some earlier kicks.
Referee: Leo Colgan (IRFU)