Cork Constitution 37 UCC 19
CORK Constitution clinched a home semi-final in All-Ireland League Division 1A following a bruising win over relegation-threatened UCC a Temple Hill last night.
The result leaves College needing points from the last game of the season at home to UCD at the Mardyke on Saturday next while Con can do them a favour by beating Shannon in Limerick.
At the outset College settled from the start and received a boost with a seventh-minute penalty from talented out-half James Taylor for a 3-0 lead.
But once Con began to flex their muscles and get into their off-loading patterns, the students soon found themselves on the back foot and defending their own line.
Within 10 minutes, Shane Daly instigated a telling move down the left which almost led to a try for Liam O’Connell, who was stopped short, but Daly followed up to touch down, 5-3.
Five minutes later, Con were in again for their second try, Jason Higgins and Brian Hayes involved in its creation with O’Connell making the line on this occasion and Aidan Moynihan converting for 12-3.
Con were now in full flow and a brilliant run through the middle by right-wing Billy Crowley had alarm bells ringing in the visitors’ defence again until Taylor’s relieving touch kick.
College, though, were penalised in the line-out and Moynihan stretched the lead even further with a kick for 15-3.
The students hit back, however, capitalising on Con infringing in a ruck after 32 minutes which resulted in Taylor’s second penalty.
And the out-half added a third, three minutes later, after Con were whistled up in a scrum and Taylor duly obliged to cut the deficit to 15-9.
But, the home side struck for a critical third try in stoppage time after College were reduced to 14 men after Cian Bohane was shown a yellow card for a high tackle.
Con were over the line, but held up. From the resulting play, though, O’Connell had plenty of time and space to cross on the right and hand Con a 22-9 interval advantage. Moynihan converted via an upright.
There was a long stoppage for treatment to a College player, who, thankfully, was able to walk unaided to the dressing room and re-join his colleagues.
The weather turned spoilsport in the second half as the rain poured from the Heavens causing the usual quota of dropped passes and a lowering of the tempo.
Taylor kicked his fourth penalty after 46 minutes and almost immediately Con lost second-row Evan Mintern to a yellow.
The 14 men, though, grabbed the next score as Moynihan nailed a penalty for 25-12 entering the closing quarter.
Con ensured a bonus point with a converted Brian Hayes try seven minutes from the end and added a fifth try in lost time. And there was time, also, for a College penalty try.
CORK CONSTITUTION: L O’Connell; B Crowley, S Daly, N Kenneally, captain, R Jermyn; A Moynihan, J Higgins; G Duffy, V O’Brien, D Murphy; B Hayes, E Mintern; K Sheahan, L Cahill, J Murphy.
Subs: P Casey, B Quinlan, C O’Flaherty, G Higgins, R Cassidy.
UCC: R Hedderman; M Clune, C Bohane, P Sylvester, M Linn; J Taylor, J Poland; S O’Hanlon, P McCarthy, B O’Connor; C Barry, A Davies; M Bissessar, J Hodnett, L McSherry.
Subs: R Loftus, H Jepsen. B O’Mahony, C Fitzgerald, E Monahan.
Referee: R O’Sullivan (MAR),