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Riordan Leads Belvedere To Confidence-Boosting Win

Riordan Leads Belvedere To Confidence-Boosting Win

Old Belvedere led from start to finish as new Cork Constitution head coach Tom Tierney watched his charges lose 24-8 at Anglesea Road.

Old Belvedere, last season's Division 1A runners-up, started well with ex-Connacht player Aidan Wynne landing two early penalties and young centres Rory O'Loughlin and Peter Robb making their presence felt in open play.

Wynne twice split the posts inside nine minutes but Cork Constitution came closest to crossing the whitewash in the first quarter with a knock-on just denying them near the line.

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With star full-back Daniel Riordan and captain Jonathan Slattery leading by example, the hosts enjoyed a late scoring spurt before half-time – just reward for their control of possession and territory.

A well-worked move saw blindside flanker Jack O'Beirne touch down in the 32nd minute and out-half Wynne landed third successful penalty for a 14-0 interval advantage.

Cork Con improved significantly on the resumption as number 8 Luke Cahill crossed for a try, just four minutes in, following up on a surging run through the middle by full-back Michael Keyes.

The Leesiders, whose pack grew in influence on the back of a strong scrum, survived a spell while second row Cathal O'Flaherty was in the sin-bin, and a 70th minute penalty from Gerry Hurley set up a grandstand finish with just six points separating the sides.

However, Paul Cunningham's men ground out the result in impressive fashion. Wynne took his tally to 14 points with another penalty and the conversion of a late penalty try which was awarded for a deliberate knock-on following a terrific Riordan break.

Giving his reaction afterwards, 'Belvo head coach Cunningham told the Irish Examiner: “We knew playing Constitution, with the record and tradition they have, that we were never going to have an easy game.

“It is so early for the players with only four or five weeks of training and matches, that it was great just to get the win, which was the most important thing. The first half was probably where we won the game. I felt the try a few minutes before half-time was a big one and gave us that nice cushion of 14 points.

“We were expecting a fightback and it did get a bit hairy in the last 10 minutes when they got back within a score but I think our guys have learnt a lot from last year and their composure saw us close the game out. We defended when we had to and managed to get scores to pull away.”

Referee: Mark Connolly (IRFU)