Clontarf 31 Cork Constitution 24
CORK Constitution were consigned to a third consecutive defeat on Saturday as they went down to Clontarf by seven points at Castle Avenue having had to play almost the entire second half with 14 men.
Second row Conor Kindregan was issued a straight red in the 43rd minute after an unfortunate, but nasty, clash of heads with Clontarf out-half David Hawkshaw. Con had been winning 12-13 at the time, but down the man, they were always going to be up against it.
Hawkshaw had started the scoring with a third-minute penalty, but Con struck on the 10-minute mark for the opening try when Niall Kenneally burst right through the heart of the home defence and popped a wonderful pass out of the tackle to his centre partner JJ O’Neill, to run unopposed under the posts.
The respective out-halves then traded penalties with Hawkshaw knocking over two in the 23rd and 29th minutes, with these sandwiching Aidan Moynihan’s 25th-minute effort.
Con full-back Jack Crowley then gathered a loose Clontarf kick deep in his own half in the 39th minute, dinked the ball over the onrushing defence and regathered to engineer a penalty opportunity which Moynihan dispatched to give his side a 12-13 half time lead.
When the second half started Kindregan then went to confront Hawkshaw, with the result being an accidental, but unfortunately reckless looking clash of heads. The resulting red was harsh but understandable, and it turned the game.
Clontarf’s big second row Cormac Daly burrowed over for the lead try in the 50th minute after the hosts had won a lineout 25m out and mauled their way infield to create the perfect attacking platform.
Moynihan did land a 57th-minute penalty to keep Con in the tie at 19-16 but Clontarf struck for a try just three minutes later after Jack Crowley had been caught in possession inside his own 22 and bundled into touch. When the resultant maul was halted scrum-half Angus Lloyd spun a looping pass wide to full-back Conor Kearns to score.
They scored again in the 63rd minute, with blindside Martin Moloney crashing over after great work by Michael Courtney and Jack Power to breach the Con defence.
A wonderful try from Con in the 72nd minute gave them hope, as a beautiful grubber through by Duncan Williams was brilliantly gathered by Sean French on the left wing to score, and a 76th minute Moynihan penalty put Con back within one score.
They had one final attack to snatch an unlikely draw but were turned over on the Clontarf 22 and so Con had to accept a third losing bonus point in a row for their efforts.