Cork Con aiming to end 20-year wait for cup

CORK Constitution are ideally poised to bridge a 20-year gap when they take on Old Crescent in the final of the ODM Munster Senior Cup at Clifford Park on Sunday (kick-off 2pm).

Con won the last of their 22 titles in 1989 under the captaincy of Michael Bradley who led a team that also contained several other distinguished names in Kenny Murphy, Moss Finn, Jerry Holland and Donal Lenihan. Kenny Murphy is the current manager of the Con team and Paul Derham, the hooker 20 years ago, is currently director of rugby at Temple Hill.

It is indeed a remarkable statistic that Constitution should have gone such a lengthy period without laying their hands on the coveted old trophy but for a variety of reasons it will be a major shock should they fail to do so on this occasion. They have beaten three of the top AIL Division One teams, UL Bohemian by 24-3, Shannon (21-7) and Garryowen (23-20) on the way to the decider and played rugby of a very high standard in doing so.

It is unlikely that coach Brian Walsh will be able to finalise a full starting line-up until he sees which members of his squad will be required by Munster for tomorrow night’s Magners League game against Ulster. But the signs are that Jeremy Manning will be available to fill the key out-half berth and that others like Mick O’Driscoll, Denis Fogarty, Tim Ryan and Denis Hurley could also see varying degrees of game time on Sunday.

The nearest Old Crescent can come to a contracted player is Munster prop Federico Pucciariello but even he must be satisfied with the role of sideline coach in the absence of the regular incumbent John Broderick.

They have yet to win the Munster Cup and have contested just two finals, in 1955 when they lost to UCC and in 1962 when beaten by Bohemians. However, hooker Pat Humphreys and prop Eugene McGovern picked up medals in their time with Garryowen.

This is Crescent’s first time to meet Division One opposition in the competition. They have defeated Nenagh Ormond by 9-6; Sundays Well by 20 points to nil and Bruff in the semi-final by 17-13. They will finalise their side over the weekend from a squad that includes Billy Leahy, whose father, also Billy, skippered the 1962 side, Donal Sheehan, formerly of Cork Con and Garryowen, Juan Pablo Ruiz (a cousin of Federico Pucciariello) and captain Phil Glamuzina.

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