Triple Crowns & Munster Cups
A new dressing room complex was added in the1980-82 period at Temple Hill, while the roadway was re-aligned and a new boundary wall and entrance ramp built.
The Munster Junior Cup was won in emphatic style in 1982. Finian O’Driscoll captained the team that beat Shannon 43-7 at Thomond Park after a gruelling replayed semi final win over Thomond. Youngsters Michael Bradley and Ralph Keyes starred at half back. Donal Lenihan, already an established international joined the club from UCC in 1984, and together with Moss Finn and Anthony O’Leary, formed the core of excellent teams. They were to spearhead much success throughout the decade. The squad was reinforced by dedicated junior team players who won five Munster Junior Cups during the period.
The Senior Cup was won in 1983 under the captaincy of Chris Cantillon when Shannon were beaten 15-9 with Moss Finn and Michael Bradley scoring the decisive tries. Rea Kennedy’s team retained the Junior Cup beating Old Christians 9-6 in the final. Thus a third Senior-Junior double was achieved.
Anthony O’Leary was captain in 1985 when Shannon were defeated 12-7 in the Munster Senior Cup final with John Barry scoring all the points. However, there was disappointment in a 9-18 Junior Cup final defeat to Thomond, one of many great contests with the other Junior Cup specialists of the period. Noel Murphy, son of Noel A., won the Junior Cup in 1986 after a replayed final with Young Munster and Trevor Barry, a popular captain and clubman, retained the trophy with a 9-4 victory over Garryowen at Thomond Park in 1988.
Michael Bradley was captain in 1989 when a late penalty by Ken Murphy secured a narrow 13-12 Munster Cup victory over Shannon. Ken and Charlie Murphy, Niall Murray and Stephen Hayes. all sons of fathers who had won Cup medals previously, added to the family collections.
On the international front, in 1982 Tom Kiernan coached Ireland to their first Triple Crown success since 1949, with Donal Lenihan and Moss Finn as team members. The feat was repeated in 1985 when Michael Bradley was scrum half. The IRB launched the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 1987 and the Irish party, captained by Donal Lenihan, included Michael Bradley and Derek McGrath.
The IRFU made the long-desired decision to introduce an All Ireland League for club competition and the qualifying process was put in train in 1987. Constitution qualified for the 1st Division with two Munster Senior League wins in 1988 & 1989, though they had to win a crucial game in 1990 against Young Munster to seal the place.
The Juvenile section broke new ground in 1990 when they played in a European tournament at Roche la Moliere in France. The Under 12 XV, under Fred Casey’s management, scored a historic win. They team featured a precocious pair at half back: Peter Stringer and Ronan O’Gara, of whom much more will he heard in future years.
A minor, but significant, change to the club’s rule book was passed at the AGM in 1989, when the club’s official name was restored to Cork Constitution FC, after many years where the city appellation had been dropped.
Noel Murphy was President Munster Branch, IRFU in 1987-88, again following in the footsteps of his late father. Tom Kiernan was honoured as President IRFU in 1988-89.