Old Belvedere 10 St Mary’s College 27
In spite of a slow start to the contest, Division 1A leaders St Mary's eventually stormed back to secure a comfortable victory over Old Belvedere in an entertaining clash at Anglesea Road.
This was yet another blow for Phil Werahiko's Old Belvedere side, who remain rooted to the bottom of the table just nine months after being crowned Ulster Bank League champions.
Having lost out narrowly to St Mary's before the New Year, 'Belvo would have been anxious to make amends on their home patch and they certainly made the brighter start to this particular encounter.
There were not too many clear-cut chances during the opening 10 minutes, and it was no surprise that the first score of the afternoon came out of the blue.
In the 12th minute 'Belvo centre John Kennedy blocked down an attempted clearance by St Mary's before touching down underneath the posts. The conversion was added by out-half Aidan Wynne to give the champions the start they so badly craved.
Indeed, Wynne had the opportunity to extend his side's lead with a 30-metre penalty after 16 minutes, but his kick drifted wide on this occasion.
'Belvo were left to rue this miss somewhat, because St Mary's came storming into the game during the second quarter, as the speedy Darren Hudson was put through by scrum half Matt D'Arcy for a well-worked try after 26 minutes.
Hudson's effort was converted by right winger Ray Crotty, who took over the place-kicking duties from absent top scorer Gavin Dunne.
This was a setback to the hosts' challenge, but they did not panic and a well-struck penalty from Wynne was enough to give 'Belvo a 10-7 advantage at the break, despite some relentless pressure from St Mary's towards the end of the half.
Much like in the opening period, 'Belvo made a positive start after the resumption, and forced St Mary's on the back foot for a sustained period.
However, St Mary's managed to weather this storm and after a long spell of possession close to the 'Belvo try-line, prop Colm McMahon got through on the left to put the Templeogue outfit in front for the very first time after 55 minutes.
Crotty was on hand to slot over a routine conversion, before splitting the posts with a difficult penalty four minutes later to increase the visitors' advantage to seven points.
Heading into the final 20 quarter, St Mary's were firmly on top, and the reliable Crotty added to his tally courtesy of a successful penalty with nine minutes remaining.
'Belvo had drifted out of the game at this point and despite their best efforts, they could not conjure up an opening that might provide them with at least a losing bonus point.
St Mary's, who have won seven on the trot now, had the final say with a try under the posts from number 10 Philip Brophy, which was converted by the excellent Crotty.
Old Belvedere: Try: John Kennedy; Con: Aidan Wynne; Pen: Aidan Wynne
St Mary’s College: Tries: Darren Hudson, Colm McMahon, Philip Brophy; Cons: Ray Crotty 3; Pens: Ray Crotty 2.