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Naas 30 - Dolphin 8   12/02/2017

Naas 30 - Dolphin 8

A devastating last five minutes saw Naas continue their push for promotion from Division 1B by defeating Dolphin at home last Saturday. The visitors had inflicted one of only four defeats on Naas so far this season, and still had a chance of repeating the feat until a power packed finish not only secured victory, but a bonus point as well for the home side.

This was a game played in dreadful conditions, it was bitterly cold and the non stop rain made life difficult for both teams. To their credit they both endeavoured to play open rugby and succeeded in greatly entertaining their freezing supporters. In their previous meeting at Musgrave Park last November, Dolphin won the forward battle, but there was a complete reversal this time round as the Naas pack, particularly in the scrum dominated.

A fired up home side got off to a great start as after only four minutes they took the lead. Naas won a line-out 30 yards out, they quickly transferred the ball into midfield, where Johne Murphy sliced through the Dolphin defence to score. Peter Osborne successfully added the conversion.

On a number of occasions Naas have conceded scores straight away after scoring themselves and it happened again here. They made a hash of dealing with the Dolphin restart and in the process they conceded a penalty which Barry Keeshan slotted over.

On 19 minutes the visitors took the lead. Dolphin won a five yard line-out, and from this they powered over the Naas line for a try which Rob O'Herlihy was credited with. Although Keeshan missed the conversion Dolphin led 8-7.

They maintained that lead until the 31st minute when Naas struck for their second try. From a five yard scrum, Peter Osborne was stopped just short of the line. The ball was quickly recycled and moved out the backline to Michael Skelton who ran in unopposed to score. This was the final score of the half leaving Naas 12-8 ahead at the break.

If anything the weather worsened in the second half making handling for the players extremely difficult. Not surprisingly defences were on top and a Peter Osborne penalty on 63 minutes was the only further score as the game entered the closing stages.

Then just as everyone thought the scoring was finished the game exploded into life. Referee Dermot Blake gave three players yellow cards - to Dolphin's Rob O'Herlihy and Cian McGovern and Ben Swindlehurst of Naas. Suddenly there was more space available on the pitch and with the visitors tiring Naas exploited it to the full.

It all started from a Dolphin scrum in their own 22, but Naas pushed them off it and quickly moved the ball to Fionn Carr who brushed aside a couple of defenders to score. Straight from the restart Naas stormed back down the pitch, Carr made a half break before finding captain Will O'Brien who got over for the all important fourth try.

There was still time for Naas to add a fifth. The brave Dolphin resistence was now broken, Peter Howard ran clean through their defence and when he was tackled just short of the line he passed to the supporting Peter Osborne who finished the scoring with another try.

It was certainly an amazing finish by Naas and one that has lifted them into third place in the table. Favourites for relegation at the start of the season, they are now just one point behind second place U.L. Bohemians, and with six games to go promotion now looks a realistic prospect.

The games keep coming thick and fast and next up for Naas is a trip to Cork next Saturday and a meeting with U.C.C. with a 2.30pm kick-off.

Naas: Michael Skelton, Jeff Delaney, Fionn Carr, Johne Murphy, Peter Howard, Ben Swindlehurst, Peter Osborne, Adam Coyle, Graham Reynolds, Jason Harney, Paul Monahan, David Benn, Andrew Kearney, Will O'Brien, Paulie Tolofua. Replacements: Warren Larkin, Dan O'Byrne, Eoin Walsh, David Barron, Johnny Delaney.

Dolphin: Cillian Monahan, Tim Phelan, Cian McGovern, Ian O'Donoghue, Gerry Ryan, Barry Keeshan, Daryl Foley, Liam Walsh, Dave Byrne, James Rochford, Rob O'Herlihy, David O'Mahony, Barry Fitzgerald, Kevin Allen, Ryan Murphy.



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