Cork Con FC 1st XV 63 - 0 Buccaneers
Venue: TemplehillCompetition: Bateman Cup semi-final
Bateman Cup kingpins Cork Constitution will meet Old Belvedere in this season's final at the end of April following a big win in Saturday's semi-final at Temple Hill.
Recent Connacht Senior Cup winners Buccaneers were very much second best on the day as Cork Constitution put themselves on the cusp on an unprecedented fifth Bateman Cup title in a row.
Frustratingly for Buccaneers boss Brett Wilkinson, the weekend's 'A' provincial fixtures had more of an impact on his side and they made the trip south without a number of the players who have guided the midlanders to the top of Ulster Bank League Division 1B.
Buccs' depleted selection - minus six Connacht Eagles - tried gamely to match the hosts but in-form Constitution, who are second in the top flight standings, really hit the ground running and were already 35 points ahead by half-time.
Con gained possession from their kick-off and immediately piled forward with intent. Prop Rory Burke was swiftly grounding the ball wide on the left for a first minute try converted by Tomas Quinlan who soon added a brace of penalties.
When the Athlone side got a rare opportunity after a 17th minute home lineout went awry, referee Paul Haycock blew for a knock-on with the visitors having an overlap. But Buccs did not help their cause with a number of kicks not finding touch, resulting in other waves of attack bearing down on them.
Cork Con's second try stemmed from another Pirates error as the midlanders moved the ball left to right but spilled it and centre Ned Hodson snapped it up to sprint away from halfway for an opportunist 21st minute try.
The visitors suffered another setback four minutes later when injury forced Shane Layden off with Mata Fifita coming on in the centre. Just before the half hour mark, ex-Bucc Conor Kindregan stretched over for a try following a maul after a penalty had been punted to touch
Constitution's maul and scrum were facets that Buccs just could not deal with, earning hooker John Sutton a yellow card during which another home drive was finished off by Luke Cahill with Quinlan converting this 35th minute touchdown.
Buccs had a spell of pressure coming up to the interval but, when possession was turned over, Cork Con gained huge yardage from a massive relieving clearance and chased hard to get a foothold in the Pirates' 22. From there, flanker Cahill got over for his second try in the final moments of the half, giving the title holders a clear-cut 35-0 advantage at the break.
Buccaneers had the better of the territory in the third quarter but lacked the guile and grunt necessary to unlock the fast-moving Cork Con cover, Alex Hayman being stopped fractionally short of the home line after 46 minutes.
Then the visitors were hit with a sucker punch when replacement John Poland made a near immediate impact to finish off a swift counter attack for a 56th minute try which he also converted. As Buccs troubles at scrum time continued, Ruairi Byrne was sin-binned and Liam O'Connell inflicted further punishment by notching a try on the hour mark to stretch the lead to 49-0, Poland again converting.
Although Buccs battled to the bitter end, scrum half Jason Higgins completed the rout with a pair of Cork Con tries in the final quarter. Poland, first cousin of team-mates Alex and Jack McHenry, converted both tries to complete Con's 63-point tally.Referee:
P.Haycock IRFUCon Players:
L.O’Connell; A.McHenry, N.Hodson, N.Kenneally (Capt.), R.Jermyn; T.Quinlan, J.Higgins; L.O’Connell, M.Abbott, R.Burke; C.Kindregan, B.Hayes; L.Cahill, J.Murphy, E.Mintern.
Replacements: J.McHenry, G.Roche, C.Barry, G.Duffy, J.Poland, J.J.O’Neill, R.Horgan.
Tries: Rory Burke, Conor Kindregan, Luke Cahill 2, Ned Hodson, John Poland, Liam O'Connell, Jason Higgins 2; Cons: Tomas Quinlan 2, John Poland 4; Pens: Tomas Quinlan 2Buccaneers Players:
Callum Boland; Eoghan O'Reilly, Shane Layden, Alex Hayman, Jordan Conroy; Alan Gaughan, Frankie Hopkins; Martin Staunton, John Sutton, Ryan O'Meara, Simon Meagher, Ruairi Byrne, Stephen McVeugh, Evan Galvin, Kolo Kiripati (capt).
Replacements: Rory Grenham, Niall Farrelly, James Foley, Mata Fifita, Rory O'Connor, Dean McMahon, Gerard Fallon.