Cork Con FC 1st XV 19 - 6 University College Dublin
Venue: TemplehillCompetition: Ulster Bank Bateman Cup Final
Cork Constitution crowned a fine season with victory in the Ulster Bank Bateman Cup final at Temple Hill on Saturday, over a very gallant University College Dublin side.
The battle between the Munster and Leinster Provincial Cup winners was played in perfect rugby conditions, though with a fine mist and greasy pitch to make every pass and bounce problematical for the players. In the end, they coped very well in the conditions making for a very well contested final.
In the early stages, both sides took time to settle into the conditions, and the first chance fell to UCD in the 15th minute, but James Thornton was wide with a penalty from 30 metres on the right. However, the same played made no mistake with his second penalty opportunity in the 24th minutes from 40 metres.
Man of the Match for Constitution, Darragh Lyons scored the game’s only try in the 28th minute with a solo effort from half way. He evaded the first-up defence, and then ran on to his grubber kick to the line. Gerry Hurley’s conversion put Constitution 7-3 ahead.
Two minutes later Constitution had a lucky escape when UCD’s impressive left wing Barry Daly lost control with the line at his mercy. A minute later Constitution were again pegged back when James Thornton found his range with a penalty, after Constitution hooker Andrew O’Drsicoll had been sin-binned.
In the run up to half time, the students missed a penalty opportunity, before Gerry Hurley nailed a second penalty in the 41st minute to leave Constitution 10-6 to the good at the break.
Constitution continued to attack in the opening minutes of the second period, but Lyons missed with a drop goal attempt, and Hurley with a penalty chance, before Hurley kicked his second penalty in the 54th minute. Thornton missed with a penalty chance on 61 minutes, and then Constitution lost front row forward Gavin Duffy in the 63rd minute with concussion after a brave tackle on wing Barry Daly.
In the 70th minute, Gerry Hurley pushed Constitution out to 16-6 with his third penalty from 25 metres, and he struck again for the final points in the 76th minute after a mazy run by Eoin O’Donnell had brought play to the UCD 22 metre line.
For Constitution it was the perfect end to a fine season, boosted as they were by a number of the successful Under 20 squad who won the Fraser McMullen Cup recently. The front row combinations stood up well, and Billy Holland’s experience with Joe McSwiney and Cathal O’Flaherty ensured good quality line out possession.
Gerry Hurley and Johnny Holland were as good as ever at half-back, and centres Niall Kenneally and Michael Keyes snuffed out any challenge in that area. Wings Eoin O’Donnell and Conor Desmond were well tested by the skilful UCD backs, but never wilted, and behind them Darragh Lyons was superb in his 11th season and his 155th All Ireland Cup and League game for the club.
The Bateman Cup was presented for the second year in succession to the victorious Cork Constitution captain, Gerry Hurley, by Nicholas Comyn, IRFU, on the pitch amid joyous celebrations.Referee:
N.Correll IRFU.Con Players:
D.Lyons; C.Desmond, N.Kenneally, M.Keyes, E.O’Donnell; J.Holland, G.Hurley Capt.; G.Duffy, A.O’Driscoll, G.Sweeney; B.Holland, J.McSwiney; G.Lawler, W.Ryan, L.Cahill. Replacements: M.Abbott, R.Burke, C.Corkery, C.O’Flaherty, L.Cahill, A.Ryan, R.Foley (all played).
D.Lyons 1T; G.Hurley 4P1C.University College Dublin Players:
A.Boyle; S.Coghlan-Murray, A.Kelly, S.Murphy, B.Daly; J.Thornton, J.Glynn; J.Tracey, R.Byrne, K.Moloney; S.Grannell, Capt., E.MacMahon; J.Van der Flier, M.McGroarty, E.Joyce. Replacements: L.Hyland, B.Cawley, R.Harrison, A.Clarkin, S.O’Meara, N.Earls, T.Fletcher. (all played).