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St. Mary’s Win ‘Titanic’ Battle In Cork

St. Mary’s Win ‘Titanic’ Battle In Cork

Dolphin’s search for their first Ulster Bank League win of the season goes on after they were defeated 27-18 by St. Mary’s College at Irish Independent Park.

This was a battle between the division's bottom two sides and a week on from Cathal Marsh's goal-kicking heroics against Young Munster, Gavin Dunne took on the mantle of match winner down in his native Cork.

Dunne took over the St. Mary's number 10 jersey and place-kicking responsibilities from the Leinster-tied Marsh and finished Saturday's game with a handsome 17-point haul from five penalties and a conversion.

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Dolphin's first defeat after three draws on the bounce means they are now seven points adrift of Mary's at the foot of the Division 1A table, with round 9 and the midway point of the season fast approaching.

Dolphin's discipline let them down early on as they allowed Dunne to convert three penalties for Mary's inside the opening 10 minutes.

The hosts made some poor handling errors and were unable to fully clear their lines at times, as the Peter Smyth-coached Dubliners maintained their presence within scoring range.

However, a well-taken 18th minute try got Dolphin off the mark as their Munster capped-centre Rory Scannell, having combined with flanker Ryan Murphy, jinked past the defence to score with assistant-coach Barry Keeshan converting.

9-7 is how it stayed up to half-time although both sides missed chances off the kicking tee, with misses from both Keeshan, who hit the post, and Dunne. Try scorer Scannell also failed to find the target from long range.

Keeshan briefly put Dolphin ahead with a 43rd minute penalty after Mary's full-back Ray Crotty was sin-binned. However, Keeshan himself saw yellow two minutes later and the Dubliners seized the initiative with replacement Richie Sweeney touching down from a ruck on the hosts' line.

Dunne converted and then exchanged penalties with Scannell by the hour mark, before promising Dolphin back rower Murphy crossed for the second week running, profiting from some good interplay between backs and forwards to power over through a couple of tackles.

The game was right back in the melting pot with Mary's now just 19-18 ahead. The visitors showed their mettle, though, to see out the result and earn a precious victory on the road.

Dunne's 73rd-minute penalty had them within touching distance of the win and young number 8 Nick Timoney then took advantage of a defensive mix-up to claim the clinching five-pointer.

Speaking afterwards, St. Mary's forwards coach Jonathan Garth told the Irish Examiner: “It was a titanic battle and we are thrilled with the result. Both sides are struggling, so for us to come out with a win was just fantastic.

“We will hopefully move upwards from here and try to get a couple of points before Christmas with games against UCD and Lansdowne to come.”

Referee: Stuart Gaffikin (IRFU)