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Old Belvedere 28 - Naas 10   27/11/2017

Boosted by their superb victory over league leaders Shannon in the previous round, Naas travelled in confident mood to Anglesea Road last Saturday to face Old Belvedere. However a combination of missing personnel through injury, and a dreadful start meant they never looked like adding to that Shannon victory here.


A large Naas crowd turned up, many of them on their way to see Ireland play Argentina, but they received a shock within 50 seconds. It would be fair to say that referee Leo Colgan will not be on the Naas Christmas Card list due to some decisions in the past, and this was enhanced when he gave a yellow card to Paulie Tolofua for what he deemed a dangerous tackle. Luckily Tim Foley missed the easy penalty attempt but Naas were already on the back foot.


Old Belvedere took full advantage of their numerical superiority by going in for two tries during those ten minutes.On six minutes they capitalised on a Naas knock on by chipping the ball in behind the visitors defence. They gathered the ball, and some slick handling by their backs saw winger Phil O'Dwyer score in the corner. Within three minutes they were further in front. 


From a good attacking position Naas failed to secure possession at the base of the ruck, Old Belvedere gathered the loose ball and following a move that took them the length of the pitch David Butler was on hand to score. Although both conversions were missed, Naas had also lost their influential forward Paul Monahan to injury and now had a mountain to climb. 


In fairness to them they tried hard, but in their eagerness to get back into the game they made more unforced errors in this eighty minutes than they had for the whole of the season to date. Still they created a number of chances and both Peter Osborne and Fionn Higgins both went close before Old Belvedere struck again on 26 minutes. 


The home side won a scrum penalty on half-way and kicked into the corner. From the line-out they set up a driving maul which Naas did well to contain. However the ball was then moved out to the backs and Pat Hughes scored beside the posts. The conversion was a formality for Tim Foley and the lead was stretched to 17.


That was the end of the scoring in the first half, and Naas knew they had to have a fast start to the second period if they were going to make any sort of challenge. However within four minutes of the resumption, they were penalised for dropping a scrum, and Foley made it 20-0. Naas to their credit responded almost immediately. They won a line-out 25 yards out and set up a driving maul which took play up to the Belvedere line. The ball was then moved out wide and with their best attacking move of the day, Shane Thompstone scored a fine try in the corner.


However any fleeting thoughts of a sensational comeback were snuffed out on 56 minutes. Naas were penalised for a high tackle and the home side opted to kick into the corner. Following the line-out the Belvedere backs again showed their class with a fine move that led to Aaron Sheehan diving in at the corner.


The game was now over as a contest, but there was still time for a Cathal Duff try for Naas, before Foley kicked a Belvedere penalty leaving the home side victorious by 28 points to ten.


All in all it was a disappointing performance by Naas, and it was a day for them to forget. After a bad start they played nowhere near their capabilities and could have no arguments with the result. Thankfully for them they do not have long to dwell on the result as they are back in action next Saturday against Old Wesley. The game is at home with a 2.30pm kick-off and all support will be greatly appreciated.


Naas: Peter Osborne, Fionn Higgins, James Cherrington, Michael Skelton, Donal Droney, Johne Murphy, Max Whittingham, Jordan Duggan, Graham Reynolds, Shane Reilly, Stephen Kinneavy, David Benn (capt), Paul Monahan, Will O'Brien, Paulie Tolofua. 


Replacements: Cathal Duff, Stephen Lackey, Warren Larkin, Cathal Murtagh, Shane Thompstone.


Old Belvedere: Danny Riordan, Shane McDonald, David Butler, Tim Foley, Phil O'Dwyer, Pat Hughes, Ian Vance, Adam Howard, Eddie Rossiter (capt), Declan Lavery, Jack Kelly, Conoro Owende, Diarmuid Kennedy, Pierce Dargan, Dave Sherry.


Replacements: Andrew McGrath, Omar Dahir, Eoin O'Neill, James Kearns, Aaron Sheehan.





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