Cork Con FC 1st XV 22 - 16 Young Munster
Venue: TemplehillCompetition: All Ireland League Division 1 Semi-final
Cork Constitution prevailed over their great Limerick rivals, but only after another heart-stopping encounter at Templehill on Saturday. Having lost twice in the regular season, it was imperative for Constitution to get the upper-hand. And though they conceded a first minute penalty, they hit back immediately and controlled the first half thereafter, leading 7-3 at the break.
Gearoid Lyons kicked that early penalty when the home side were penalised for obstruction when receiving the kick-off. Constitution almost equalised immediately as an up and under led to a penalty chance, but Tomas Quinlan’s effort rebounded from a post. And when Constitution forced a five-metre scrum in the next play, James Ryan set up Niall Kenneally for a try, converted by Quinlan for 7-3. From there to half time, scoring chances were at a premium, as both sides used their possession to test the respective defences which held firm.
Constitution attacked from the restart, but a high tackle after 51 minutes gave Gearoid Lyons a penalty chance that closed the gap to 7-6. Then in the 62nd minute, Constitution hooker Max Abbott was sin-binned for off-side in the red zone, and Lyons converted the penalty for the lead 7-9. But Constitution re-took the lead with a 35 metre penalty by Quinlan in the 65th minute. But then, as play swung from end to end, Young Munster scored a fine try in the 70th minute, when they countered from a loose kick with full back Craig O’Hanlon scoring. And Lyons’ conversion was good, to set Constitution a serious challenge at 10-16 with 10 minutes remaining.
A crucial yellow card for Young Munster’s Sean Duggan in the 73rd minute gave Constitution a valuable advantage that they turned into points from a 5-metre scrum in the 80th minute, as a penalty try was awarded against the creaking Young Munster scrum. Quinlan’s conversion was a formality for 17-16 with just injury time to be played.
In the event, Constitution sealed their victory when Niall Kenneally again went over in the right corner for an unconverted try, and a sweet 22-16 victory, especially after conceding twice to the Limerick-men during the season. But there is still time for more, as the sides are also likely to meet in the final stage of the Munster Senior Cup.
The AIL final is set for the Aviva Stadium on Saturday 7th May, when Constitution will meet Clontarf, who defeated UCD 24-10 in the second semi-final.
Meanwhile, Constitution travel to Galway next Saturday, to play Galwegians in the Bateman Cup Final.Referee:
G.Conway (MAR)Con Players:
S.Daly; A.Spring, N.Hodson, N.Kenneally, R.Jermyn; T.Quinlan, R.Foley; G.Duffy, M.Abbott, G.Sweeney; C.Kindregan, B.Hayes; G.Lawler, J.Ryan Capt., L.Cahill. Replacements: L.O’Connor (1); R.Burke (3); C.O’Flaherty (5); J.Murphy (8), J.Poland (9); D.Lyons, L.O’Connell.Con Scorers:
N.Kenneally 2T; T.Quinlan 1PT1P2CYoung Munster Players:
C.O’Hanlon; J.Hamilton, D.Goggin, G.Lyons, D.O’Neill; R.Guerin, A.Greisl; D.Begley, G.Slattery, E.Ryan; T.Goggin, S.Duggan; A.Kennedy, D.Dee, B.Kilkenny. Replacements: S.Redisson (6); A.Ross (8); P.Downes (1); M.Malden (4); M.Doyle, P.Meyer, B.Botts (3).Young Munster Scorers:
C.O’Hanlon 1T; G.Lyons 3P1C