Cork Con FC 1st XV 26 - 20 Garryowen
Venue: TemplehillCompetition: Ulster Bank All-Ireland League - Division 1
Constitution and Garryowen, once again, produced a pulsating All-Ireland League match at Templehill on Saturday, which the home side edged by the merest margin. On a day when Constitution launched their latest record of achievement with Edmund van Esbeck’s account of the club’s 125th anniversary, this latest instalment did credit to all that went before.
Garryowen had won the first round match 16-10 at Dooradoyle in October, but in the meantime Constitution had moved to second place in the table, while Garryowen were very much in need of a boost, as they lay in eighth position, after a run of five defeats in six games.
But Garryowen showed their intent with a dramatic opening try after just six minutes, as centre Sam Arnold crashed over with a clean break from 40 metres. Captain, Neil Cronin converted for a great start for his team.
Constitution stormed back, and a break by Shane Daly and Liam O’Connell almost yielded a 13th minute try. A Tomas Quinlan penalty put the home side on the scoreboard in the 22nd minute, and Conor Kindregan got over for a try in the 33rd minute after a series of mauls. Quinlan’s conversion put the home side at 10-7.
Garryowen struck just before the half time break, with full back Liam Coombes squeezing in at the left corner. Cronin missed the difficult conversion, as did Tomas Quinlan with a late penalty, to leave the visitors at 10-12.
Quinlan had Constitution back in control within 10 minutes, as he converted two penalties for 16-12 after 48 minutes. And while Constitution dominated the next 25 minutes, they did not add to their total, and they paid the penalty in the final 10 minutes when Garryowen captain Neil Cronin edged his side back in front with an unconverted try in the 74th minute, following a break from half-way.
In a frantic final 10 minutes, Quinlan kicked a penalty for Constitution, following a break from half-way by Luke Cahill. But Cronin replied with a similar effort a couple of minutes later, to reclaim the lead. However, the match was decided in the 85th minute, when Max Abbott got the touchdown under the posts, and Quinlan’s conversion gave Constitution a precious victory over their oldest adversaries.
With two matches remaining, Constitution lie second in the table on 51 points, two points behind Lansdowne; Young Munster are third on 49, with Clontarf fourth on 48 points.
Next Saturday, Constitution are free, as Munster play Toulouse at Thomond Park; and the next game is on 8th April against Young Munster at Greenfields.Referee:
S.Gaffikin MARCon Players:
S.Daly; L.O’Connell, N.Hodson, N.Kenneally Capt., R.Jermyn; T.Quinlan, J.Higgins; L.O’Connor, M.Abbott, G.Sweeney; C.Kindregan, G.Lawler, J.Murphy, L.Cahill. Replacements: R.Burke (3) ; G.Duffy (1); C.Barry (6); J.Poland; J.J.O’Neill (14)Con Scorers:
C.Kindregan 1T; M.Abbott 1T; T.Quinlan 4P2CGarryowen Players:
L.Coombes; S.McMahon, S.Arnold, P.Collins, H.O’Brien-Cunningham; A.O’Byrne, N.Cronin; N.Horan, E.Costello, JP Phelan; B.O’Byrne, S.O’Connor; D.Shanahan, M.Wilson, B.Faloon. Replacements: A.Thai (1); M.O’Donnell (3); T.Ferguson; J.Keane (5); J.HeustonGarryowen Scorers:
S.Arnold 1T; L.Coombes 1T; N.Cronin 1T1C1P