Young Munster 10 Old Belvedere 13
Youth had its fling when Steve Crosbie emerged as match-winner in a hard fought Ulster Bank League tie at Clifford Park on Saturday.
With several youthful players on both sides, the glory fell to Crosbie whose last-ditch penalty denied Young Munster the draw their efforts most probably deserved. The former Irish U20 out-half had missed a couple in the first half but atoned superbly with a pressure kick that went in off the upright.
“It was a cracking kick and after missing an easy one in the first half,” Old Belvedere coach Paul Cunningham. “He is a very young man, a novice in the overall situation but he showed unbelievable character to nail that.
“Overall, I thought it was a very honest performance, the guys rolled up their sleeves and worked very hard. The set piece was strong enough for most of the game. We kicked intelligently and took advantage at the end.”
Cunningham was aware of how close it was, however, and paid tribute to Young Munster for contributing to a lively second half.
“There was a decent bit of football in the second half and that came from Young Munster too. They played football. They scored a cracking try, the one to go level. They didn’t ever stop playing and at the end they were camped on our line. We’ll take this one.”
Cunningham’s coaching rival John Staunton was disappointed with his side’s inability to cope with the challenge.
“We played in fits and starts and weren’t clinical enough in the second half either having not turned up for the first 40 minutes. We didn’t often get into areas where we could do damage. When we did get in there we scored two very good tries but overall weren’t clinical enough to wi.”
Cunningham also took issue with Ulster referee Stuart Gaffikin in relation to his handling of the game in the hectic closing minutes.
“I don’t mind referees making mistakes but I don’t like decisions made clinically for an offside rule in the first half and then not applying the same rule in the second half. That’s disappointing. When we were picking and going, there was no offside line and the breakdown was not being refereed in the last five minutes when we were going for the line. Then again, you make your own luck.”
Old Belvedere led 3-0 at the break after an opening half ruled by driving rain and a disruptive crosswind. Once the teams got to grips, the game reached a new level. Derry O’Connor scored a fine opportunist try for Young Munster after 48 minutes but Jack Conan’s 70th minute solo effort, converted by Crosbie, gave the visitors a 10-5 advantage. Gerry Slattery delighted the home fans with the best try of the afternoon two minutes later and both teams looked capable of winning until Crosbie’s excellent late strike.
YOUNG MUNSTER: A O’Loughlin, L Kuntz, D Goggin, K Hifo, D O’Connor, S O’Brien, B Haugh, H McGrath, G Slattery, G Ryan, A Kennedy, S Duggan, T Goggin, S Rennison, C Liston.
Replacements used: D Montgomery, M Madden, J Moroney, S Upton.
OLD BELVEDERE: D Riordan, D Symmons, A Wynne, S Berne, C Power, S Crosbie, A Sheehan, P O’Regan, C McDonald, D Lavery, D Moore, J Eden-Whatiri, J Slattery, J Conan, K O’Gormon.
Replacements used: P Hogan, A Howard, B Marshall, P Robb, F Lawlor.
Referee: S Gaffikin (IRFU)
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