Old Belvedere win JP Fanagan League title over Lansdowne


Des Berry


11th March 2024


4 minutes

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There was everything to play for on the final day of the Leinster Under-20 JP Fanagan Premier 1 League with Lansdowne holding a slender two-point lead over their hosts at Ollie Campbell Park on Sunday afternoon. In the end, Old Belvedere had a different two points to spare to claim the trophy for the first time in their history for coach Kieran Hurrell and captain Leo Dowling.

It was all-out attack from the off as Old Belvedere employed the offload for Niklas Moelders and Cian Russell to make major metres.

 However, Lansdowne refused to push the panic button, their aggression in defence rewarded when Jamie Maguire ghosted home from an interception for Tom Bohan to convert.

No sooner had that sunk in than Old Belvedere struck back from Dowling’s darts, Woody Kinsella’s fetch at the lineout and Dowling’s grounding at the back of a maul for 7-5 in the fifth minute.

Hugh Wilkinson’s arcing break fed the energy of James Ruddy, Shane McNulty and Toby Durham to take Belvo’ into a promising position, Johnny Kiely eventually settling for three points in the 16th minute.

An advantage in the scrum paved the way for OB’s move into the lead. Their forwards queued up for a series of drives from close range, prop Colin Byrne burrowing over for Kiely to make it 15-7 in the 25th minute.


The physicality of the front five and pressure across the midfield was having an impact, stifling Lansdowne’s efforts to move to width. When that job was done, Belvo’ transitioned quickly into attack where centre Hugh Reddan sliced the defence open for a try, converted by Kiely for 22-7 in the 33rd minute.

Lansdowne hooker Mikey Yarr matched Dowling’s exploits with a perfect throw and tight ball security for a try from the maul which Bohan converted for 22-14 at half-time.

 A period of loose play in which Lansdowne edged the territory was turned into an OB counter in which the ball was shifted left for Toby Durham.

When that avenue had been closed down, it was whizzed right for Senan Hogan to shoot up the wing, spinning an inside pass into the hands of James Doyle for a stunning try, converted by Kiely for 29-14 in the 46th minute.

The response was methodical and well-measured by a cohesive pack, pounding runners at close range until Steve McMahon finished at the posts. Bohan converted.

Centre Reddan’s intervention at a ruck allowed the Belvo’s maul to swing into gear, drawing the penalty for Kiely to make it 32-21 in the 61st minute.

The momentum swung in favour of Lansdowne and their backs began to break free of a suffocating defence.

The problem was the final pass and an obdurate defence that would not yield an easy metre.

An overthrown lineout was taken on by Dowling and Jack Dunne’s kick tumbled into touch to offer Belvo’ respite.

Just when Lansdowne seemed to have solved the defensive puzzle, Mikey Wall’s legs were whipped away by Dowling. 

When all else failed, Lansdowne went to the corner, working the front for Paul Wilson to crash over at the left corner for 32-26 with time against them. 

A terrific maul was good for a penalty which Kiely missed to the right. No matter, Joshua Ericson snatched a turnover penalty. Kiely was straight and through for a two-score lead. 

It ended almost as it started, Maguire catching a pass for his second try in the right corner for Bohan to slot the touchline conversion. 

Old Belvedere had enough composure to see out the final, nerve-shredding minutes. 

SCORERS: Old Belvedere: L Dowling, C Byrne, H Reddan, J Doyle try each; J Kiely 3 pens, 3 cons. Lansdowne: J Maguire 2 tries; M Yarr, S McMahon, P Wilson try each; T Bohan 4 cons OLD BELVEDERE: Shane McNulty; Senan Hogan, Hugh Wilkinson, Hugh Reddan, Toby Durham; Johnny Kiely, Andrew McCarthy; Cian Russell, Leo Dowling (Capt), Colin Byrne, James Ruddy, Woody Kinsella, James Doyle Niklas Moelders, Joshua Ericson.

Replacements: Michael Sadlier for Kinsella 53 mins; Jack Dunne for McCarthy 68 mins; Harry McDermott for Byrne 79 mins. 

LANSDOWNE: Steve McMahon; Jamie Maguire, Andy Quinn, Dylan O’Keeffe (Capt), Mikey Wall; Tom Bohan, Fiach Devitt; Oisin Lynch, Mikey Yarr, Adam Deay, Tom Wyley, Luke O’Connor, Thomas Noone, Noah Maguire, Paul Wilson.

Replacements: George Morris for Lynch, Sam Nolan for Doyle both 33 mins; Ross Molloy for Devitt ht; Cian Eddy for O’Keeffe 50 mins; Dan Reddin for Deay 61 mins; Tim Cotter for Yarr, Cian Power-Walsh for O’Connor both 72 mins. 

REFEREE: B Whyte, Leinster Branch.