In the end, it was some resilient defensive work by St Mary’s in the final quarter that proved the difference.
St Mary’s led 15-0 after playing with the wind in the first-half but coach Peter Smyth must have been very worried when Dolphin reduced the deficit to 15-7 with a penalty try.
To complicate matters, St Mary’s had scrum-half Matthew D’Arcy sin-binned for obstructing Dolphin wing Cian Bohane as he attempted to ground the ball. So, when out-half Barry Keeshan added the conversion, Dolphin were in position to win the game.
But Dolphin’s inability to make better use of their chances saw St Mary’s hold out. And the fact that the game contained plenty of mistakes wasn’t going to worry coach Smyth.
“It was difficult out there as our ground is very open to the wind,” he said.
“Today was really about winning after a couple of defeats. The fact that we went down to 14 men following the sin-bin probably galvanised us.”
Trailing by eight points with plenty of time left, Dolphin must have thought they were in with a great chance. But they failed to make use of possession.
Clontarf are now the only unbeaten team in Division 1A as a result of Young Munster’s 9-3 derby success over Shannon at Tom Clifford Park on Saturday.
It was quite an achievement as Young Munster had to play for 50 minutes with 14 men. Skipper Ger Slattery was sent off by referee Dudley Phillips following an altercation with Shannon player-coach Stephen Keogh.
Somehow though Young Munster managed to secure a victory which moves them up to second in the table behind Clontarf. Shannon drop to third.
At the time of the sending off, Young Munster led 6-3 though a drop goal and a penalty from Willie Staunton with Gareth Quinn McDonagh replying with a penalty for Shannon. As hard as they tried, Shannon could not take advantage of the extra man and it was Young Munster who had the last word with a further penalty from Staunton.
Everything suggests it is going to be a very open league race. Apart from leaders Clontarf, who have won four on the trot following Friday night’s 25-13 success over Lansdowne, every team has lost at least one game.
Cork Con have lost two following their 13-9 home defeat to Garryowen. Unusually, this was Cork Con’s second successive home loss. Credit must go to the young Garryowen outfit who scored a crucial opportunist try through wing Alan Gaughran just before half-time. Fergal Lawlor added the conversion and also added two second half penalties, while Gerry Hurley kicked three penalties for Cork Con.
Ballynahinch continue to lead the way in Division 1B with a comfortable 31-11 home success over UCC. They also picked up a bonus point scoring five tries through Aaron Ferris (two), David Nicholson, Willie Faloon and James Simpson.