Daniel Riordan played a captain’s role and more at Anglesea Road on Saturday as his hat-trick of tries helped Old Belvedere claim a comprehensive 31-point win over Cork Constitution.
Cork Con, who had enjoyed a memorable 25-22 triumph over Lansdowne on their last visit to the capital, took the lead after two minutes of this fast-paced encounter.
The reliable Johnny Holland landed a 35-metre penalty after a knock on. Having won their last two league fixtures, 'Belvo were in a confident mood and thundered downfield to respond with the opening try.
It came from a long move across the Constitution defensive line just three minutes later, and full-back Daniel Riordan was on hand to touch down in the right corner.
Josh Glynn fell short with the difficult conversion that followed, but 'Belvo had found their footing in the game and were starting to put Cork Con on the back foot having been under pressure themselves in the early moments.
They had an opportunity to increase their advantage on 13 minutes, but once again winger Glynn was wide of the mark with a penalty attempt from the right.
The Temple Hill outfit took advantage when Holland restored their lead with a routine penalty from close in, following good pressure in the 'Belvo 22.
Old Belvedere were showing no signs of caving in, however, and the pacy Glynn finally got it right on the 20-minute mark by right-footing a tricky penalty, which meant that the 2011 champions were two points to the good once more.
Holland had the chance to cancel out this score almost immediately, but even though his 40-metre strike had plenty of distance to it, he was not able to match it with accuracy.
Cork Con did refocus in the closing moments of the first half, and the 27th minute sin-binning of Pat O'Regan offered them plenty of incentive, but 'Belvo were assured in defence and held onto an 8-6 cushion heading into
the second period.
After an accomplished performance in the first half, Belvo played with real intent and purpose upon the resumption, and Riordan crossed the whitewash for the second time two minutes in, following a fine move that was instigated by
out-half Steve Crosbie.
This was added to just seven minutes later by a third try from flanker Kieran O'Gorman, converted with style on this occasion by Glynn. Andy Dunne's men were beginning to turn the screw on their Cork counterparts.
There was a real sense that this game was starting to slip away from Constitution, and they found themselves 24 points behind by the hour mark as a result of a second successful penalty from Glynn, allied to a third try by the outstanding Riordan on the left flank.
This effectively killed off the game as a contest and ensured that Old Belvedere finished the game with a bonus point along with a memorable league victory.
Gerry Hurley did reduce the 'Belvo margin with a try on the left after 66 minutes, converted with ease by Holland.
The Dubliners were never going to be denied their runaway success though and they continued to push for tries as the tie drew to a close. O'Gorman's fellow flanker, Jack Conan, drove over powerfully from a ruck for a 73rd minute try.
This was added to in clinical fashion by industrious second row Josh Eden-Whaitiri underneath the posts in the final minute.
Both of these late tries were converted by Glynn as resurgent Old Belvedere eased over the finish line for their third Division 1A triumph on the trot.
Referee: Eanna O'Dowd (IRFU)