Beetles Bonnets 8
Dirty Dozen 7
A golden try in the last minute of extra time handed Beetle Bonnets a shock spot in this year’s A Grade Corinthians Tag grand final last Thursday.
Ciaran Dunne’s score was the final ingredient which ousted title favourites Dirty Dozen from the title race and helped the side to a pulsating 8-7 win where no more than two points separated the two sides for the entire game.
Finishing the regular season on top of the table, the Dirty Dozen had every right to feel confident going into Thursday’s semi-final, particularly having defeated their opponents by a convincing 11-point margin during the regular rounds.
They were the aggressors for almost the entire game and it was not until Dunne’s dramatic touchdown that they were behind on the scoreboard.
But it was the moment that counted for Beetle Bonnets and they have now come from fourth place on the table at season’s end to snatch a grand final berth where they will meet last year’s winners the Dirtier Dozen on Friday night.
Corinthians rugby combination Henry Daly and James Buckley combined to open the scoring for the Dirty Dozen, Daly making the initial break before Buckley finished off the movement to put the side on the board three minutes into the game.
Ian McDonald quickly responded for Beetles before flying Frenchman Aurlien Casanova handed the lead back to the Dozen.
They could have given their lead an extra boost when Evelyn McElvaney aimed for the line after being set up by Buckley, but had to be content with a single-point score after McElvaney was tagged late, but Barry O’Sullivan dashed over instead.
Mark O’Boyle and speedster Dan Quinn added another two scores for the Beetles though to lock scores up at three points apiece, that scoreline remaining for the final seven minutes of the first half.
Again the Dozen snatched an early advantage with tries to O’Sullivan and Daly in the opening four minutes.
Pat Gucks then finished off a movement that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Connacht backline, sprinting through on an overlap to dot down in the left corner and bring Beetles back within one.
Casanova was in again for the Dozen, but Quinn’s mad dash down the right touch line left the Dozen defenders in his wake and another Boyle try had scores level again at 6-6 with nine minutes left to play.
Daly had his second score, but turned his good work around moments later as he was shown a yellow card for a rough tag, reducing the Dozen to six men for the last two minutes of regular time.
The Beetles took full advantage and Alan Quinn found the gap in the Dozen defensive line to score for the 7-7 result which is where things stayed until the final siren.