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Dolphin 15 - Naas 10 2016-11-14 00:21:00

Dolphin 15 - Naas 10

Naas travelled to Cork last Saturday for their latest Ulster Bank All-Ireland League fixture, a meeting with Dolphin at Irish Independent Park. Conditions for the game were ideal, it was a beautiful, dry, crisp afternoon, but the early exchanges were played in a somewhat muted atmosphere. This was mainly due to the very small home crowd, although the attendance did grow as the afternoon progressed.

Dolphin went into this fixture bottom of the league table. Victory was vital for them and they played as if their lives depended on it. For eighty minutes they gave 100% and were deserving winners. In saying that Naas will know that they not play to their full potential and despite this they could have snatched the verdict in the final moments.

The home side started brightly and it was quickly obvious what their match tactics were. At every opportunity their big forwards would pick and drive, for most of the game their backs were just spectators.

After six minutes they got the opening score of the game when Cillian Monahan tapped over a penalty in front of the posts but within five minutes Naas were on level terms. Fionn Carr caught the ball 30 yards out from his own try line but as he cleared he was late tackled by Gerry Ryan. A penalty was awarded from where the ball landed and Peter Osborne made no mistake with the kick.

After 21 minutes Dolphin went back in front. Naas were penalised for handling in a ruck and Cian McGovern immediately signalled that he would take a shot at goal. Although there was no breeze this looked optimistic to say the least. But McGovern was proven correct as he just about had the distance as the ball crept over the crossbar to make it 6-3.

Although four minutes later Dolphin lost influential scrum-half Daryl Foley due to injury, they would have been happy with the way the afternoon was proceeding. They were completely dominating both territory and possession and Naas were struggling particularly in the scrums.

However out of nothing Naas struck on 33 minutes. After winning a line-out the ball was moved out to Fionn Carr in midfield. He managed to find a hole in the Dolphin defence and showing tremendous pace managed to score in the corner. There was some debate about the grounding of the ball but after consulting his touch-judge, referee Karol Collins awarded the try. Peter Osborne then superbly kicked the conversion from the touchline and Naas led 10-6.

Straight from the restart the gap was reduced. After gathering the kick Naas were penalised at the subsequent ruck and Cillian Monahan kicked the penalty to leave the score at the interval Dolphin 9 - Naas 10.

Despite leading Naas knew they were a little lucky to be in that position and in a bid to improve their performance they made no less than three changes in the pack for the second half with Graham Reynolds, Paulie Tolofua and Paul Monahan coming on. They certainly helped Naas in the scrum as the Dolphin supremacy here was extinguished, but the home side still dictacted play.

Within a minute of the restart they were in front. Naas gave away a penalty on the half way line and Cian McGovern again showed his ability from distance by successfully converting the kick.

It was all Dolphin at this stage and after 52 minutes following a great charge by Dave O'Mahony took play into the Naas 22, the home side were awarded another penalty which Cillian Monahan scored to make it 15-10 to the Corkmen.

McGovern narrowly missed with another long range effort on 65 minutes to extend the lead, before Naas almost snatched a dramatic victory in the dying moments.

After Dolphin collapsed a scrum, Naas kicked the subsequent penalty into the corner. After winning the line-out a brilliant series of passes by the backs saw Rob O'Connor dive in at the corner. Both players and spectators celebrated the score but failed to see that the touch-judge had his flag raised for a foot in touch and Dolphin held on for victory.

Naas will be disappointed with their performance here and know they are capable of a lot better. But on the bright side they did gain a losing bonus point.

Next up for them is a home fixture against U.L. Bohemian on Saturday week, November 26th with a slightly earlier kick-off time of 2pm.

Naas: Peter Osborne, Rob O'Connor, Johne Murphy, Ben Swindlehurst, Fionn Carr, Michael Skelton, Max Whittingham, Adam Coyle, Warren Larkin, Jason Harney, Stephen Kinneavy, David Benn, Andy Kearney, Will O'Brien, Eoin Walsh. Replacements: Graham Reynolds, Jordan Duggan, Paulie Tolofua, Paul Monahan, Andrew Shanahan.

Dolphin: Cameron O'Shaughnessy, Timmy Phelan, Cian McGovern, Sam Kennedy, Gerry Ryan, Cillian Monahan, Daryl Foley, Liam Walsh, Dave Byrne, James Rochford, Dave O'Mahony, Rob O'Herlihy, Anthony Mason, Kevin Allen, Ryan Murphy. Replacements: Caolan O'Flynn, John Leahy, Lar Coughlan, Karl Keogh, Killian O'Keefee.



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