AIL: Aidan Moynihan on how Cork Constitution turned their season around

Cork Con are now six points off the top in the Division 1A table
AIL: Aidan Moynihan on how Cork Constitution turned their season around

Brendan Quinlan and Paddy Casey, Cork Con, untangling their boot laces after a ruck. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

CORK Constitution’s 38-10 bonus-point win over UCD at Temple Hill at the weekend narrowed the gap in a tightly-packed, energia All-Ireland League Division 1A table.

Clontarf are the new leaders, on 23 points, two ahead of Lansdowne and Young Munster, with Garryowen a further point adrift and Con next, on 17.

Only six points separate the first five clubs, with the league just a third of the way through its 18-game schedule.

Con’s third successive victory balances the books of their opening three defeats, but new captain, Aidan Moynihan, says nothing will be resolved until the end.

“The league this year is so competitive; just look at last weekend’s results,” he said.“Teams at the top dropped points and teams below us picked up points.

“There are six or seven teams pushing for those top-four places.

“Previously, four or five teams might have broken clear, but this is going to go right down to the wire and it’s developing into another fantastic league.”

 Aidan Moynihan, Cork Con, attempts a conversion kick against, UCD. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Aidan Moynihan, Cork Con, attempts a conversion kick against, UCD. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Con’s win wasn’t without cost, however, because there were injuries to Cian Barry and Mike Casey in the opening half and Greg Higgins, scorer of two tries, on the change of ends.

Even prop Paddy Casey finished the game in the back-row, following Luke Cahill’s departure, but Moynihan is confident Con have the resources to cope.

“I think we have the strength-in-depth and I believe we’ve never been in a stronger position, in terms of numbers training.

“We’ve 40 lads training on Tuesdays and Thursdays and we didn’t have that level in the past few years.

It’s great, because nobody is guaranteed their place, even in my position, because you have Tomas Quinlan and Jack Crowley, at times, and it’s the same at scrum-half, with Duncan Williams, Johnny Poland, and Gerry Hurley.

“If I’m not performing in my position to a certain standard, there’s another fellow waiting to step in.” Moynihan orchestrated matters from out-half, having missed the previous win over Garryowen.

“I tweaked my hamstring against Trinity, in the last 20 minutes or so, and that kept me out of the game in Limerick.

“I was probably borderline, but I know now it’s not good to push an injury like that, especially in an 18-game league season and with a block of four coming after the week off.”

TESTING

Despite a winning try count of 6-1, Moynihan said it was much tougher than the margin suggests.

“I don’t think the scoreline properly reflected the game, because we spent the first 15 minutes with the ball, but their defence was hard to break down.

“And I thought the next 20 minutes were massive, turning down the opportunities for kicking at goal and putting the squeeze on by going to the corners.

“I thought that period after the first water-break was massive,” Moynihan said, as Con turned around 24-3 ahead.

Before the game, the referee said we had to have a water break, but from my point of view, there’s no need, in either rugby or GAA.

“It was brought in during Covid for a specific reason and I think it’s coming into a couple minutes’ coaching session now.

“It completely depends on what way the game is going. If you’re on top with momentum it can break that, but, equally, in the second half, we lost our way for 20 minutes, but the break helped us regather to play some decent rugby in the last quarter.

“There are positive and negative sides to it and completely depends on how you’re playing.”

Con couldn’t add to their tally in that third quarter, squandering promising scoring positions.

“That was the big disappointment for us, because, at half-time, we spoke about playing to our high standards and making sure we kept playing our game.

“It got a bit frustrating and, sometimes, you can’t put your finger on why it’s happening.

“We had the bonus point by half-time and as much as you convince yourself not to switch off, it does naturally happen at times.”

Con make the long trip north to play bottom club, Ballynahinch, on Saturday.

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