Cork Con FC 1st XV 24 - 9 Clontarf
Venue: TemplehillCompetition: Ulster Bank Bateman Cup Final
Cork Constitution won their third Ulster Bank Bateman Cup in succession when they overcame Clontarf in an exciting final at Templehill on Saturday. While the match was played in bright sunshine, there was a strong down-field breeze that made for a non-kicking running game, as both sides tested each others defences.
And Clontarf made use of that wind advantage in the first quarter, as they confined the home side to their own half. However, a 22nd minute penalty by David Joyce from 35 metres was all they had to show on the scoreboard for their efforts, as the home side contested and tackled well. In the 26th minute, Daragh Lyons placed a penalty to touch inside the Clotarf 22 metre line; Max Abbott found Cathal O’Flaherty at the line out; and the Con pack drove the 15 metres to the line where Luke Cahill got the touchdown. It was a big statement of intent by the home side. Daragh Lyons kicked a great conversion, and he added a second superb conversion to a 35th minute try by James Ryan in the corner, after Rob Jermyn made a snipe down the left wing.
Clontarf made a comeback with two penalties before half time, kicked by David Joyce in the 39th and 43rd minutes, as Constitution were penalised at the breakdown. But, Constitution led 14-9 at the break, and could look forward to the assistance of the strong breeze in the second period.
Daragh Lyons got Constitution off to the best possible start in the second half with an opportunist drop goal after three minutes from 22 metres. Thereafter, Constitution controlled the play, albeit often in defensive mode, where centres Niall Kenneally and J.J.O’Neill gave little quarter. Eventually, they did add to their total in the 78th minute when Darren Sweetnam latched on to a mid-field break by Graeme Lawler and Rob Jermyn, for the clinching score. Quinlan added the conversion for 24-9.
The final minutes were marred by an unfortunate injury to Clontarf’s David Joyce, that necessitated prolonged on-field medical assistance. In the end, Constitution can be well pleased with a fine team effort, especially after some disappointing results in the final stages of their League campaign. For Clontarf, there was the disappointment of finishing runners-up in both League and Cup, but they still showed themselves to be a fine side.
The Bateman Cup was presented after the match, which was televised live by RTE, by
Martin O’Sullivan, Vice President IRFU, to Gerry Hurley, for his third success as captain, amid the usual joyous scenes.
N.Correll IRFUCon Players:
D.Sweetnam; N.Hodson, J.J.O’Neill, N.Kenneally, R.Jermyn; D.Lyons, G.Hurley Capt.; G.Duffy, M.Abbott, G.Sweeney; C.O’Flaherty, G.Lawler; L.Cahill, J.Murphy, J.Ryan. Replacements: L.O’Connor, A.Slattery, A.Ross, S.Dwyer, A.Dorgan, T.Quinlan, R.Horgan (all played)Con Scorers:
L.Cahill 1T; J.Ryan 1T; D.Sweetnam 1T; D.Lyons 2C1DG; T.Quinaln 1C.Clontarf Players:
R.Keogh; M.Brown, C.O’Shea, M.Darcy, M.McFarland; D.Joyce, S.Cronin Capt.; I.Hirst, B.Byrne, R.Burke-Flynn; T.Byrne, B.Reilly; K.Moran, A.Darcy, T.Ryan. Replacements: R.Lichfield, L.Murphy, I.Soroka, D.O’Meara, E.Ryan, C.O’Brien, C.O’Keeffe (all played).Clontarf Scorers: