Old Belvedere win Purcell Cup with victory over Navan at Energia Park
May 2, 2018 12:35 pm Site Editor
Old Belvedere RFC secured their third Bank of Ireland Purcell Cup victory by defeating Navan RFC 15-3 at Energia Park.
After previous Cup victories in 2000 and 2005, the joyous scenes in the Belvo camp at the full-time whistle reflected the satisfaction of winning this prestigious under-age competition against their spirited opposition.
Belvedere started brightly and, with the aid of a fresh first half wind, were camped in the Navan half. A combination of excellent Navan defence and poor place-kicking by Belvedere kept the game scoreless after 15 minutes.
However, the pressure eventually told on the first-time finalists when, after several well-controlled phases, Belvedere moved the ball wide for the impressive hooker, Colin Duffy, to crash over for an unconverted try.
Navan stormed straight back in search of an equalising try, but their hopes were dashed by the concession of a penalty when on the attack. With the game swinging from end to end, Belvedere lifted the siege and forced another kickable penalty, which was again missed in the difficult wind conditions, leaving the half-time score at 5-0.
Navan, with the wind now at their backs, came out with serious intent in the second half and, after 10 minutes, dynamic Navan prop, Cyr Bakekolo, crashed over but was penalised for a double-movement.
Belvedere capitalised on this close call by gaining good field position in the Navan half and, after a series of trademark driving mauls, they swiftly moved the ball wide for Peter Maher to dive over. With place-kicking still proving difficult, the unconverted try left Belvedere with a 10-0 lead after 60 minutes.
To their credit, Navan stormed back and forced a penalty which was duly converted by out-half, Niall McGrane, to make it a one-score game. However, soon after, Belvedere’s excellent control of their driving phases opened the way for a crucial third try by replacement Pairic Cagney to extend the lead to 15-3.
The massive spirit in the Navan team was demonstrated in the last eight minutes when they piled on the pressure. It was only inaccurate final passes which deprived them of two certain tries during this period, with winger Brian Byrne being unlucky on a number of occasions.
The final whistle blew with Belvedere holding out for a deserved 15-3 victory, but with the margin being a little harsh on Navan.
Old Belvedere RFC 15 (Colin Duffy, Peter Maher, Pairic Cagney try each) Navan RFC 3 (Niall McGrane pen)
Old Belvedere RFC: Peter Maher, Ross Murphy, Chris Carey, Jack Gilheany, Noah Butler, Charlie Allen, Peter O’Beirne, Kevin Dolan (capt), Jack McAteer, Oran O’Brien, Michael Stapleton, Dan Carson, Roman Solanoa, Colin Duffy, Cillian Molloy.
Replacements: Conor Byrne, Paddy Malony, David Hill, Dan De Loughry, Paraic Cagney, Shane Hogan & Joe Gilmartin.
Navan RFC: Paddy Fox, Graham Brennan, Keelan McKeever, Cian Twomey, Brian Byrne, Niall McGrane, Mark Farrell, Cathal Birmingham (capt), Alan Crowe, Kurtis Crawford Hemi, Eoin Sullivan, Darragh Magee, Cyr Bakekolo, David Fox, Fiachra Finnegan.
Replacements: Gavin Cheung, James Gibney, John McLoughlin , Luke Morgan Doherty, Enda Goodrich, Ben McEntaggart , Eoin Duggan , Eoin O’Reilly , Ciaran O’Reilly.