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Old Belvedere Pip Munsters In Eight-Try Thriller
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Old Belvedere Pip Munsters In Eight-Try Thriller

Old Belvedere Pip Munsters In Eight-Try Thriller

Old Belvedere squeezed past Young Munster at the end of an enthralling contest at Greenfields, with former Cookies star Willie Staunton kicking 16 points in this 36-35 triumph.

Willie Staunton's handsome kicking contribution – two conversions, two penalties and two drop goals – proved vital for Belvedere as they leaked an 89th minute try to Young Munster's new flanker Dan Walsh. The touchline conversion was narrowly missed by the otherwise accurate Paul Downes, though, and the Dubliners hung on.

Two quick-fire tries from talismanic full-back Daniel Riordan – one of them a lung-busting intercept effort – had 'Belvo leading 15-13 at the interval.

Recent Ireland Under-20 cap Walsh grabbed an early debut try for the Cookies, but Riordan sparked his side into life with scores after 9 and 11 minutes.

Munsters were unable to convert their lion's share of possession into points, although full-back Paul Downes' late penalty cancelled out Staunton's 38th-minute kick to keep the two-point deficit.

It was drama all the way in a rip-roaring second half, with the Cookies, including Munster back rower Robin Copeland, clearly determined to succeed in new head coach Gearoid Prendergast's first league match in charge. Indeed, Copeland had two spectacular solo runs as Munsters took the game to the visitors.

Twice the Limerick men breathlessly snatched the lead from 'Belvo's grasp thanks to tries from blindside Darren Ryan and scrum half Rob Guerin. Downes converted both and also nudged over a penalty for a 30-26 turnaround.

Staunton's boot negated the damage for 'Belvo – his collection of successful kicks included a monster drop goal from halfway – and with time almost up, winger Shane McDonald clinically cut through to complete his second half brace. Walsh's last-gasp effort ensured that both sides finished with try-scoring bonus points.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, 'Belvo boss Paul Cunningham said: “We would have had no complaints if that last conversion went over (for Young Munster) because it was such a cracking game to be part of.

“(Robin) Copeland showed a few nice touches as the game went on and the fact that he was there at all acted as a challenge to our fellas who never let him out of their sight. It was a marvellous game of rugby and while we know Munsters were short a load of players, it was a great start for us and will give us a lot of confidence.”

Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU)

Lineups Scorers

Match Lineups

Home Team

Paul Downes; David O'Mahony, Abrie Griesel, Jack Harrington, Tom McHale; Shane Airey, Rob Guerin; Gavin Ryan, Ger Slattery, Colm Skehan, Alan Ross, Michael Madden, Darren Ryan, Dan Walsh, Robin Copeland.

Replacements: Peter Meyer, Evan Ryan, Sean Rennison, Elie Mundu, Mark Doyle.

Away Team

Daniel Riordan; Shane McDonald, Ben Woods, John Kennedy, David Brandon; Willie Staunton, Aaron Sheehan; Adam Howard, Ed Rossiter, Declan Lavery, Jack Kelly, Karl Miller, Michael Oyuga, Jonathan Slattery, Dave Sherry.

Replacements: Cathal O'Flynn, Jonathan Inglis, Tom de Jongh, Robert Cruess Callaghan, Kyle McCarthy.

Match Scorers

Home Team

Tries: Dan Walsh 2, Rob Guerin, Darren Ryan; Cons: Paul Downes 3; Pens: Paul Downes 3

Away Team

Tries: Daniel Riordan 2, Shane McDonald 2; Cons: Willie Staunton 2; Pens: Willie Staunton 2; Drops: Willie Staunton 2