Dolphin weather storm to seal semi-final spot

DOLPHIN broke new ground in a season that is getting better by the week, with yesterday’s win over Galwegians at Musgrave Park earning them a place in the semi-final of the AIB Cup for the first time.

Coach Steve Ford admitted it wasn’t the perfect display on a bitterly cold day. Mistakes were numerous against a Galwegians team that hardly deserved to be that far adrift at the end, but he emphasised: “I would have taken that win if I had been offered it before the start. “They certainly didn’t make it easy for us and that might stand to us later on. I felt we deserved to win, although the margin might just be a bit flattering.

“But we got the result we wanted, we’ve advanced, we’re home to Garryowen on December 19 and that’s what counts.”

Galwegians applied much of the early pressure and had the first of the scoring chances; unfortunately, David Clarke and Mark Butler were off target with long-range penalties.

Dolphin made the best of their limited opportunities and while Barry Keeshan’s first penalty attempt was blown off course by the swirling wind the outhalf added the additional points to an excellently worked try by flanker Barry O’Mahony after 25 minutes.

Even though Galwegians were reduced to 14 men when Ivan Muldoon was sin-binned for his role in a 32nd minute fracas, they reduced the deficit when Clarke made no mistake with his second effort.

But if Dolphin were disappointed at failing to make their numerical advantage count, things got much better in the opening minutes of the second half. Keeshan kicked a 45th minute penalty and then converted a fine try from Niall O’Driscoll following a superb break from Paul Hurley to stretch the lead to 14 points.

But Galwegians took up the challenge and breached the Dolphin line after 64 minutes only to be called back for a forward pass.

However, pressure paid off when Dolphin’s George Finn was sent to the sin-bin and substitute Ronan Loughney got in for a try at the posts that Clarke converted to pull the score back to 17-10.

Sadly for them, the effort took its toll because Dolphin responded instantly and Nick Williams powered through for the third try to seal the deal. Keeshan made no mistake with the conversion.

DOLPHIN: D. McCarthy, N. O’Driscoll, E. Moloney, K. Lynch, P. Hurley, B. Keeshan (captain), S. Cronin, R. O’Neill, A. O’Driscoll, C. Condon, C. Rowe, F. Rowe, G. Finn, N. Williams, B. O’Mahony.

Replacements: T. O’Callaghan for A. O’Driscoll (injured 52), M. Purcell for Moloney (64), D. Nathan for O’Mahony, A. Foley for Condon, R. Allen for Finn (all 78)

GALWEGIANS: L. Bibo, J. Cleary, A. Esera, D. Clarke, M. Butler, R. Shaughnessy, K. Campbell, J. Naughton, C. Muldoon, J. Stephens, L. Cahill, B. McClearn, A. Conboy, A. Olive, I. Muldoon.

Replacements: R. O’Beirne for Butler (33, injured), R. Loughney for Stephens (52) D Boyd for Conboy (66), J. Moran for Scannell (73)

Referee: J. Carvill (IRFU).

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