Cork Constitution 23 Garryowen 21
CORK Constitution inflicted a first defeat of the season on energia All-Ireland League Division 1A leaders Garryowen in a cracking tie at Dooradoyle on Saturday.
It was typical fare between these great rivals with the lead exchanging hands on a number of occasions and it also featured two of the most exciting young talents in the country at out-half, Jack Crowley for Con and Ben Healy in Garryowen colours.
Three yellow cards, two to the home side, also reflected the highly competitive nature of a gripping contest, which swung the visitors' way in a wind-assisted second-half.
Con came from 18-10 down early after interval to complete a memorable fight-back, sealed by a courageous try from Cathal O'Flaherty in the 67th minute, converted by Crowley, who had earlier landed a couple of important penalties.
O'Flaherty's powerful drive helped Con to a two-point lead and they had enough nous to close out the game for a deserved second win on the spin.
They began brightly with an early Crowley penalty before David Hyland crashed over for the opening try after 26 minutes, the out-half converting for a 10-0 lead.
Garryowen, though, showed their class to dominate the remainder of the half and cross for a couple of tries from Healy and Brian Fitzgerald and a penalty and conversion from Healy.
Despite losing Tim Ferguson to the sin-bin, the Limerick side led 15-10 at half-time and increased it with another Healy penalty after 46 minutes, still a man down.
Con gradually clawed their way back into contention with Crowley kicking penalties after 55 and 60 minutes to make it a two-point game.
Both were reduced to 14 temporarily as JJ O'Neill, who pulled of an heroic tackle earlier, and Jamie Hueston for Garryowen saw yellow.
In the end it came down to O'Flaherty's thunderous run in open play, bouncing off an initial tackle to race away and score the critical try.
Scorers for Cork Con: Tries: D Hyland, C O'Flaherty Cons: J Crowley (2) Pens: J Crowley (3).
Scorers for Garryowen: Tries: B Healy, B Fitzgerald Con: B Healy Pens: B Healy (3).
CORK CONSTITUTION: S French; JJ O'Neill, G Higgins, N Kenneally, R Jermyn; J Crowley, D Williams; L O'Connor, M Abbott, P Casey; C Barry, C O'Flaherty; J Forde, D Hyland, M Casey.
Subs: J Dinneen, D Murphy, E Quilter, J Beamish, J Poland, T Quinlan.
GARRYOWEN: J Heuston; C Quilligan, B Fitzgerald, J Delaney, J Shanahan; B Healy, E Barry; M Donnelly, D Murphy, D McCarthy; P Kelly, K Seymour, captain; T Ferguson, S Rennison, C Hurley.
Subs: L Kilkenny, N Horan, R Whelan, J Keane, A Wood, A Cosgrove.
Referee: E Cross (MAR).