On the 23rd October Cork Constitution and Young Munster played each other in the top of a table clashin the AIL Div. 1A doubling as both teams played for the Danaher Sheehan Cup.
The events committee organised another great club day around the match, it being Cork Cons first home AIL fixture of the 2010/11 season in Temple Hill and Cork Jazz Weekend Saturday.
The President in his address at the start of the year talked about active membership and participation and this was the clubs first opportunity this season to put into operation his intensions.
The match day lunch format has changed for the start of this season and it was great to see some old faces attending the more informal format. The new format is been trialled between now and Christmas and all the indications so far are it’s more enjoyable allowing members to mingle and chat prior to the match while having lunch. It’s also a great way of catching up with old players and members that we only see on an infrequent basis.
Both Presidents Der O’Riordan and Derek Tobin spoke about the intentions of both clubs and the overriding messages is that clubs need to work together to ensure the success of the league. The league is the basis of the success of Irish provinces and this needed to be protected. This was extremely evident as Con had Peter O’Mahony, Billy Holland, Ian Nagle, Stephen Archer, Ivan Dineen and Simon Zebo on view Saturday, an inspiration to many and further evidence of the role the AIL has to play.
Guest speaker Paul (Pakie) Derham, a Cork Con stalwart, a member of the inaugural All-Ireland League winning side and past Cork Con director of rugby entertained with his match day lunch speech recounting old stories and antidotes of days gone by and as always Pakie was entertaining with his stories and light hearted humour.
He also spoke about previous battles between Cork Con and Young Munster and stressed the importance of having Young Munster playing in the highest levels of the AIL. He stressed the importance of their style of rugby and their club ethos been key to all those involved in the AIL.
The message is clear the club game still has a massive role to play in the fabric of the sport in this country. A vibrant club structure to underpin the professional game is necessary to support the continued growth in the popularity of rugby and Cork Con continue to ensure this is one of the club objectives for 2010/11. Saturday was another opportunity to showcase the best of what the AIL can offer.
It would be great to think that the honesty of effort displayed by teams in the league might attract even a small percentage of the people who have been smitten by the efforts of the provinces over the last few years and entice them to attend club matches, after all the AIL set the tone for all those fantastic Munster days in Thomond and Musgrave Parks.
Peter Good (Director of Juvenile Rugby) and his team organised an underage blitz running up to kick off which created a great buzz and thereafter the Senior Team took care of the business part of the day making itthree wins on the trot, courtesy of another typically strong finish at Temple Hill.
Cork Con ended Young Munster's unbeaten start to the season. Con fell behind to a tenth minute penalty from the visitors' by in-form place-kicker Alan Kingsley before Brian Hayes responded with a try in the corner for Con, but Munster’s doubled their tally through the boot of Kingsley after a sustained bout of forward pressure.
A second try from Hayes, converted by winger Richie Lane, helped Con to a 12-6 half-time lead and we were quick out of the traps in the second half.
Simon Zebo skipped past two tacklers to score an excellent individual try in the 46th minute and Con soon had the bonus point secured, with flanker Peter O'Mahony finishing off a back row move.
Mike Prendergast's charges rallied superbly, forcing the issue through the forwards before centre Matthew Costelloe was put through a gap for a Kingsley-converted try.
Kingsley kicked a penalty and a 20-metre drop goal, sandwiched a lone penalty from Lane, as Munster’s cut the gap to 25-19.
But the Limerick side were denied a losing bonus point when an intercepted pass allowed Richie Lane to scoot in under the posts for a final seven-pointer.
Well done to the Events and Family Committee. Roll on Dolphin on the 13th November and St. Marys on the 5th December.