Old Belvedere 20 Greystones 19
Greystones failed to repeat their win over the same opposition in last season’s Division Two play-off final as a late Brian Collins penalty steered Old Belvedere to victory at Anglesea Road.
Collins landed a 40-metre penalty to see Belvo secure only their second win of the current campaign.
Hooker Alex O’Sullivan’s converted try and a penalty from out-half James Power had Greystones leading 10-7 at the break.
But winger Kevin Barden notched his second try for the hosts and Collins had the final say.
Bottom of the table Greystones, 37-21 winners over Belvo in that epic play-off final, ventured to the capital hoping to improve a run of four defeats in their last five games.
Still without injured lock and captain Neil Megannety, ‘Stones have struggled to make their mark on the division since their return to the top flight and this match was seen as an ideal chance to pick up a much-needed victory.
Having also lost four of their recent games, Belvedere, who sat in 14th in the table before kick-off, were also in a similar situation and they were made to pay for a sloppy start when O’Sullivan burst onto a pass and made the line, 14 minutes in.
However, that seemed to sting the Richie Murphy-less Belvo into action and with the ‘Stones defence falling asleep on the restart, electric winger Barden was able to gallop over for a fine try in reply.
Collins, the former Ireland Under-19 international who deputised for Murphy, knocked over the conversion but Power edged ahead in the battle of the young number 10s by planting a 37th-minute penalty through the posts for the half-time lead.
‘Stones seemed to come out as the more resurgent outfit for the second half with back rower John O’Beirne particularly influential. A pinpoint penalty from Power edged the Wicklow men into a 13-7, a quarter-of-an-hour into the second period.
But Barden’s second try, again topped off by Collins, cut the gap to 16-14 and although Power, who also struck a drop goal, did his best to keep ‘Stones in front, Collins swung a very tight decision back in the hosts’ favour.
Scorers: Old Belvedere: Tries: Kevin Barden 2; Cons: Brian Collins 2; Pens: Brian Collins 2
Greystones: Try: Alex O’Sullivan; Con: James Power; Pens: James Power 3; Drop: James Power.