AIL: Cork Con beaten away to Lansdowne in a bruising battle

Coughing up 12 points in the second half after losing a man to the sin bin
AIL: Cork Con beaten away to Lansdowne in a bruising battle

Cork Con's Sean Duffy is about to be tackled by Lansdowne's Eoghan Murphy in the Energia AIL Div 1A tie at the Aviva. Picture: Moya Nolan

Lansdowne 25 Cork Constitution 19 

A costly sin-bin period early in the second half, where Cork Con shipped 12 unanswered points, proved the difference in the Energia AIL Division 1A clash on Saturday afternoon, as hosts Lansdowne just about ran out winners in a bruising encounter on the Aviva Stadium back pitch.

Lansdowne struck for the opening score in the eighth minute when scrum half James Kenny put winger Peter Sullivan away in the right corner at the back of an attacking maul, but out-half Stephen Madigan can take a lot of the plaudits, as it was his booming kick that had laid the foundation for the try.

Four minutes later Madigan split the posts with a well-struck penalty from 40m to give the home side an early eight-point buffer.

In the 19th minute, Lansdowne scored a try out of nothing when a speculative Madigan chip bounced perfectly into the grateful arms of left-wing Michael Silvester, who had the gas to get home. 13-0 down, it wasn't looking good for Con, although credit to Daniel Hurley for showing the desire to match his athletic prowess, as he charged down Madigan’s conversion attempt to keep the score down.

 Cork Con's Luke Kerr in action against Lansdowne. Picture: Moya Nolan
Cork Con's Luke Kerr in action against Lansdowne. Picture: Moya Nolan

A minute later Con struck back, with a wonderful individual score from George Coomber. The full-back collected a loose ball just inside his own half, ran an arcing line around four defenders and set off down the left touchline. He was faced by the approaching full-back and the retreating cover, but somehow found a superb step and an extra gear of gas to get through to score in the corner.

Con kept orchestrating excellent attacking positions but their lineout malfunctioned on a number of occasions. They got an opportunity to bridge the gap when home lock Jack Dwan was sin-binned in the 39th minute, with the Con pack capitalising to force a penalty try off a 5m scrum, to leave it 13-12 at half time.

Con loose head Ale Heaney was then yellow carded in the 51st minute for conceding a cynical penalty on his own line, and a minute later Silvester scored after collecting a long looping pass to score in the left corner, to put the home side back into a six-point lead.

In the 61st minute, just before Con got back to parity, centre Tom Monaghan crashed over, after sustained pressure, to give Lansdowne some daylight.

Con set up a grandstand finish when openside James Murphy burrowed over from close range in the 75th minute to get Con back to within six.

Con did have one final opportunity to snatch victory after Ben Popplewell had been penalised for a late hit on Aidan Moynihan, but a forward pass was the signal for the ref to blow the full-time whistle, much to the relief of the boisterous home crowd.

Scorers for Lansdowne: Madigan (1 pen, 1 con), Silvester (2 tries), Sullivan, Monaghan (1 try each).

Cork Con: Moynihan (1 con), Pen try, Coomber, Murphy (1 try each).

LANSDOWNE: McEvoy; Sullivan, Redmond, Monaghan, Silvester; Madigan, Kenny; Popplewell, McElroy, Lasisi, Clarke, Dwan, Ross, Forster, J O’Sullivan (c).

Subs: Boland for Lasisi (57), Doyle for Ross (59), Murphy for Dwan (70), Hastie for Madigan (78).

CORK CON: Coomber; Hurley, O’Riordan, Kenneally, Crowley; Moynihan (capt), Kahn; Heaney, Scannell, Masters, Duffy, O’Flaherty, Kelleher, Murphy, Hyland.

Subs: Blair for O’Flaherty (57), Lamarque, Kerr and Higgins for O’Flaherty, Kahn and Hurley (63).

Referee: Peter Martin

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