This was not one of the champions’ best performances, but as coach Brian Walsh pointed out, they showed character to come back, having lost a commanding lead against Garryowen the previous week. The four points boost their prospects of finishing among the top four teams while it is unlikely that yesterday’s losing bonus point will be sufficient to keep UL Bohs’ interest alive beyond the preliminary stages.
“We didn’t play in the last 20 minutes against Garryowen whereas we did today and that has to be a positive,” said Walsh. “The game had a cup final feel to it and we’re happy to come out on the right side.”
Both sides fielded Munster players and Paul Warwick at 10 for UL Bohs looked a class apart for his 55 minutes on the pitch. Having played 18 minutes for Munster on Saturday and with an A game against Leinster to play on Wednesday, he was obliged to come off at that point. It proved pivotal.
Warwick was up against his Munster team-mate Jeremy Manning in the out-half duel. The pair exchanged penalties before Richard Lane’s run up the right wing paved the way for a try by Tom Gleeson. Manning missed the extras but knocked over a penalty before a couple by Warwick narrowed the gap to two points into half time.
Bohs dominated the early stages of the second half with Warwick impressively pulling the strings. His cleverly delayed pass set up centre Giles Boland for a nice try which the Aussie converted and he then landed a penalty to edge Bohs 19-11 ahead. Con weren’t helped when Manning missed two scoreable shots at goal. However, Bohs lost number eight Kieran Essex to a yellow card and Con hit back. Finally Ed Leamy crashed over and Lane converted to leave only a point separating the sides. UL Bohs looked dangerous from the restart only to allow Con to break out of their own 22. Lane booted downfield and when he lost possession, the outstanding Billy Holland picked up and raced over the posts. Manning added the points and Bohs had nothing more to give.
UL BOHEMIAN: S. Payne; M. Butler, G. Boland, C. Finn, M. McPhail; P. Warwick, C. Delooze; K. Flanagan, S. Henry, M. Storey, B. Madigan, D. Foley, T. O’Donnell, K. Bracken, K. Essex.
Replacements: R. Feeney for Flanagan; C. Sheridan for Warwick; R. Hartigan for Madigan; B. Duggan for Henry.
CORK CON: D. Lyons; R. Lane, T. Gleeson, A. O’Brien, C. Healy; J. Manning, D. Williams; T. Ryan, L. Gabriel, R. Hassin, M. O’Connell, M. O’Driscoll, B. Cuttriss, E. Leamy, B. Holland.
Replacements: E. Ryan for O’Brien; A. Horgan for Healy; G. Murray for Hassin; F. Cogan for Cuttriss.
Referee: D. Wilkinson (Ulster).