Willie Staunton struck late with his sixth successful penalty to guide Old Belvedere to an 18-15 home win over Terenure College tonight.
With the rugged 'Belvo scrum setting up the opportunity, out-half Willie Staunton split the posts right at the death to move Paul Cunningham's men temporarily to the top of Ulster Bank League Division 1A.
His kick broke Terenure's hearts, the visitors – boosted by last week's victory over UCD – managing to outscore Belvedere by three tries to none during this end-to-end encounter.
An entertaining first half ended 10-3 in 'Nure's favour, a brace of high quality tries from full-back Jake Swaine doing the damage for James Blaney's side who had captain Kyle McCoy, on his return from injury, making an impact in the second row.
A lost Belvedere lineout handed possession to Terenure and good width and accurate passing, led by half-backs Thomas Burke and Mark O'Neill, put Swaine dummying through and racing over in the corner with 11 minutes on the clock.
Staunton responded off the tee in the 19th minute, before 'Belvo fell asleep after a kick went out on the full. Robbie Murphy's quick thinking caught the home side out and Swaine had the pace to finish his second unconverted effort in superb fashion.
An early second half penalty from Staunton was cancelled out by 'Nure's third try, scored by flanker James O'Neill. The 'Belvo defence, which was so impressive against Lansdowne, gave way as neat passes from captain Kyle McCoy and Mark O'Neill sent the openside through for his second try in as many games.
With no conversions, Terenure's lead was not as big as it should have been and just five minutes later, Staunton found the target to reduce the arrears to 15-9. The visitors were now living off scraps of possession despite the best scavenging efforts at the breakdown by Robert Duke and James O'Neill.
The big 'Belvo pack repeated the trick with further scrum pressure leading to another converted penalty, and after 'Nure lock John Dever was sin-binned for a 'no arms' tackle and going off his feet, Staunton drew the hosts level in the 80th minute.
The momentum was fully behind 'Belvo with the extra man and they made it count in the dying seconds, their scrum coming up trumps again for the Galbally man to knock over the deciding kick.
Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU)