Cork Con FC 1st XV 15 - 14 UL-Bohemian
Venue: MardykeCompetition: Munster Senior Cup Final
Cork Constitution won their 24th Munster Senior Cup in most dramatic fashion at the Mardyke on Friday evening. Trailing by four points deep into injury time, against an unyielding UL-Bohemian defence, they finally found the key to unlock that defence with a superb try. The conversion attempt from the touchline struck the crossbar, and the referee blew for full time to end a thrilling encounter.
UL-Bohemian playing in their first Cup final for 32 years settled quickly and scored after 5 minutes when centre Mossie Lawlor went over for a try. Ben Martin converted for 7-0. Bohemians continued to make the early pace and Martin was wide with a drop goal attempt after 26 minutes. Then as tempers flared in a melee that saw Bohs No.6 Conor Kindregan sin-binned, Constitution struck for a try through Niall O’Driscoll. Johnny Holland added the conversion to tie up the scores at 7-7 at the break.
Significantly, Constitution stayed on the pitch for the half time break and took the initiative with a Johnny Holland penalty after two minutes. Another score then might have sealed the game, but again the Bohs defence dealt with everything, and they engineered a fine try in the 64th minute. From good field position they recycled repeatedly, before putting winger Darren Moroney in for a try. Martin again added the points to set up a massive challenge to Constitution.
And in the final 15 minutes Constitution did rise to the challenge. They rotated their forwards via the rolling replacement rules as the Bohs pack tired, and then they played a vital card. When Constitution forced a series of 5-metre scrums, they brought No.8 James Ryan back from the bench, and it was his slick delivery to scrum half Gerry Hurley that led to the dramatic winning try. From a scrum to the left of the posts, Con opted for the short side. Hurley’s pass to Ivan Dineen was not perfect, and the big centre had to check and adjust his run. But in doing so he created space for his wing partner Niall O’Driscoll, and as he engaged the Bohs winger, he slipped a scoring pass around the corner, for O’Driscoll beat the cover tackle to score. Holland’s fine conversion attempt did not matter as clock was well over the eighty minutes.
It was a harsh outcome for a gallant and well-coached UL-Bohemian team, but for Constitution the glory of a Cup win will give them confidence for the Bateman Cup series that will see them play away to the Ulster Cup winners in January.
Watching from the stand, Flor O’Leary recalled that he was at the 1946 Cup final at the Mardyke as a 16-year old, when Con won the Cup 3-0 with a last minute try against Garryowen. On that occasion, out half Tommy Moroney broke on the short side from a pass from scrum half Ned Murphy, drew the Garryowen winger and put Tommy Riordan away to beat the cover and score in the right corner at the river end. On this occasion it was on the same side of the pitch, but at the city end. And to keep the family connections going, it was Ned Murphy’s grand-nephew, Niall O’Driscoll who scored the winning try, while his brother Andrew O’Driscoll also won his first Cup medal, and in a competition sponsored by their father’s company ODM Financial, Bandon.
Eddie Hogan-O’ConnellCon Players:
Darragh Lyons; Robert Clune, Ivan Dineen, Scot Deasy, Niall O’Driscoll; Johnny Holland, Gerry Hurley Capt.; Bryan Cagney, Andrew O’Driscoll, John Ryan; Brian Hayes, Philip Donnellan; Graeme Lawlor, Brendan Cuttriss, James Ryan.Con Scorers:
N.O’Driscoll 2T; J.Holland 1P1CUL-Bohemian Players:
D.Johnson; D.Moroney, M.Lawlor, N.Kenneally, R.Whyte; B.Martin, C.Sheridan; T.Burke, E.Rossiter, G.Walsh; E.Kelly Capt., D.Frawley; C.Kindregan, J.O’Donoghue, J.CondrellUL-Bohemian Scorers:
M.Lawlor 1T; D.Moroney 1T; B.Martin 2C.