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St. Mary’s Up To Sixth Following First Victory

St. Mary’s Up To Sixth Following First Victory

St. Mary’s College won at the third attempt when edging out hosts Old Belvedere 14-10 in a tightly contested Dublin derby at Anglesea Road.

A first half try from winger Conor Toolan was bolstered by a penalty try and two Gavin Dunne conversions, as Peter Smyth's men ended their wait for a win in Division 1A.

St. Mary's did lose replacement Dave Fanagan to the sin-bin and centre Peter Robb touched down for the second week running to give Old Belvedere a losing bonus point.

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Smarting from a 13-8 loss to Ballynahinch, 'Belvo had the better of the early exchanges here and goal-kicking winger Josh Glynn put them in front with a penalty in the 16th minute.

Mary's lost the services of their captain Kevin Sheahan (rib injury) in the 23rd minute and in his absence, the hosts needed a big performance from converted back rower Richie Sweeney.

In the words of the inimitable 'D O'Brien', 'Chips' was the visitors' man-of-the-match – 'roaming the field like a tormented torpedo, destroying runners and smashing movements'.

Despite persistent lineout problems against a well-organised and athletic Belvedere pack – Mary's lost seven of their own throws over the course of the game – Smyth's charges improved as half-time approached and scored a timely try.

There were 37 minutes on the clock when a kick ahead tested the Old Belvedere defence and the pacey Toolan blocked and retrieved the ball to dart away and score a fine try. His back-three colleague Dunne converted for a 7-3 half-time lead.

The Mary's scrum was in the ascendancy for much of this round 3 clash and the pressure told in the 50th minute when referee Sean Gallagher awarded a penalty try. Dunne added the extras for a 14-3 scoreline.

In previous weeks against UCD and Terenure College, Mary's had struggled to convert pressure into points but their improved width in both defence and attack was noticeable in their third league outing.

However, with players like Daniel Riordan, centre Robb and pack powerhouses Jack Kelly and Conor Owende (pictured above) standing out, Paul Cunningham's Belvedere produced a fiery final quarter.

Mary's held out until the strongly-built Robb burst through a gap to score in the 72nd minute and Glynn added the extras to reduce the deficit to just four points.

The home support sensed a comeback win but Mary's tightened up in defence, following Fanagan's return from the bin, to see out a confidence-boosting victory.

Highly-rated youngster Nick Timoney, who was sprung from the Mary's bench, stood up to the task with some textbook tackling as 'Belvo pressed for a match-winning score.

Referee: Sean Gallagher (IRFU)