AIL rugby: Lucky 13 for Cork Con as league leaders hold off UCC

AIL rugby: Lucky 13 for Cork Con as league leaders hold off UCC
UCC's Murray Linn is tackled by Cork Constitutions Jonathan Wren and JJ O'Neill during the Energia AIL Division 1A game at Templehill. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Cork Constitution 16 UCC 12 

HOLDERS Cork Constitution extended their winning sequence to 13 games in energia All-Ireland League Division 1A at Temple Hill last night.

UCC were awarded a penalty try, 12 minutes from the end of regulation time, after driving Con back in a close-range scrum to make it a one-point game.

But, Con replied with a Jonathan Wren penalty, six minutes later, to leave College needing a try before time caught up on them.

Conditions were next to impossible with a near-gale blowing across-field adding to the degree of difficulty already impacted by the biting cold and constant rain.

A minute's silence was observed in memory of the late Munster CEO Garrett Fitzgerald, a member of both clubs.

The home side settled quickly, well directed by the wily half-back pair of Duncan Williams and Gerry Hurley, whose deft kicking to the corners helped pin College deep in their own 22.

Hurley kicked the opening penalty after seven minutes, assisted by skipper Niall Kenneally who helped keep the ball from falling over on the kicking tee.

And the out-half made it 6-0 after 13 minutes, repeating his effort from almost the same spot on the 22 and to the left of the uprights.

The students weren't helping their cause by falling foul of referee Robert O'Sullivan at both line-out and scrum time as Con heaped on the pressure.

The inevitable opening try came in the 20th minute after Hurley set-up a promising field position with another well-judged kick to the corner.

Dave Hyland won a line-out at the front and the pack rumbled over the line with Brian Hayes accredited with the try, which Hurley converted for 13-0.

College, though, were still competing well and their endeavours reaped a reward with a try from skipper Ryan Murphy in the 38th minute after a break down the left.

Out-half James Taylor was unlucky to see his conversion rebound from an upright and they were relieved to see Hurley missing a penalty in the closing act, 13-5 at the interval.

If anything the weather deteriorated even more on the resumption and while College enjoyed more territory they lacked accuracy in promising positions as Con defended resolutely.

Just before the hour, Williams made a typical sniping break through the middle before losing possession in the tackle.

Taylor nailed a kick to the corner after College won a penalty in the subsequent scrum, but they couldn't take advantage.

For Con, there was the welcome sight of Aidan Moynihan coming off the bench for his first outing since breaking his leg earlier in the season.

Cork Con and UCC players observe a minutes silence for the late Garret Fitzgerald, former Munster CEO. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Cork Con and UCC players observe a minutes silence for the late Garret Fitzgerald, former Munster CEO. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

CORK CONSTITUTION: J Wren; JJ O'Neill, A McHenry, N Kenneally, B Crowley; G Hurley, D Williams; B Quinlan, M Abbott, R Burke; B Hayes, S Duffy; J McSwiney, D Hyland, R O'Neill. Subs: J Sutton, G Duffy, J Murphy, A Moynihan, J Costigan.

UCC: M Linn; M Clune, L Bruce, H O'Riordan, M Bowen; J Taylor, L Kahn; S O'Hanlon, T McCarthy, B O'Connor; C Barry, R Thompson; R Suttor, R Murphy, captain, J Hodnett. Subs: F Hennessy, J French, A Brien, E Monohan, M McLoughlin.

Referee: R O'Sullivan (MAR)

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