Clinical Cork Con cruise past Shannon

SHANNON’S season took a further dip at Temple Hill on Saturday when old rivals Cork Constitution had an easier passage than expected to the AIB Cup quarter-finals.

Constitution had more of a menacing look about them when it came to creating scoring opportunities and they enjoyed a 28-point advantage at the interval.

Once again, Shannon displayed courage in hitting back with a try in the opening seconds of the second half before failing to nail home a territorial advantage in the subsequent minutes. As the clock ticked down, Constitution got better and confidently held out to secure a comprehensive win.

Con coach Brian Walsh admitted: “I was surprised we beat them by that much; normally there is little or nothing between us. But we took our chances and they didn’t take theirs.

“We allowed them to come at us in the third quarter, but I was happy with our response in the latter stages. For a variety of reasons, we had to make a number of changes and it was good to watch some of the guys out there produce it for us when they haven’t had much game-time this season. For the last few weeks we have been creating scoring chances but maybe not taking them. We got it right in this one and I’m delighted with that.”

Constitution enjoyed a dream start when Richard Lane knocked over a long-range penalty before snaffling a try that he converted – after hard work by Darragh Lyons and Simon Zebo.

Lane tacked on another penalty midway through the half before Tim Kenneally scored a fine individual try on 27 minutes and Lane added the extras to push their lead to 20 points.

The full back could do no wrong and he contributed further to Shannon’s woes – they came desperately to scoring just after that – with a 35th minute breakaway try. Lyons rubbed further salt to the wounds with a drop goal in the last minute of the half to secure a 28-point lead at the interval.

Shannon sprang into action from the resumption, scoring a fine corner flag try from Richie Mullane that Tadgh Bennett converted. They might have scored again 14 minutes into the half only to be called back for a forward pass and that proved vital as they attempted manfully but vainly to get something meaningful for their efforts.

Instead, Con remained patient in defence as Shannon appeared to run out of ideas and Kenneally’s brilliant counter-attack in the 73rd minute yielded another try for the home side.

Shannon did have the last say with a try of quality from winger Stephen Kelly, with Bennett converting, but it all came a little too late to make a difference and Constitution will now be favoured with another home draw in the last eight against Queens University, who defeated UCC on Saturday.

CORK CONSTITUTION: R. Lane, S. Zebo, T. Kenneally, E. Ryan (c), C. Healy, D. Lyons, D. O’Driscoll, M. Gateley, R. Quinn, R. Hassan, M. O’Connell, B. Hayes, E. Leamy, F. Cogan, P. O’Mahony.

Replacements: P. Kelleher for Quinn, G. Murray for Gateley, B. Nagle for O’Mahony, R. Gee for O’Connell, C. Jouve for Zebo.

SHANNON: M. Lawlor (c), R. Mullane, M. O’Driscoll, F. McLoughlin, S. Kelly, T. Bennett, F. McNamara, K. O’Neill, B. Duggan, K. Griffin, L. O’Sullivan, F. Walsh, P. Loughnane, D. Quinlan, J. O’Connor.

Replacements: L. Hogan for O’Neill, J. Cronin for Duggan, D. Keane for O’Sullivan, J. Clogan for McLoughlin, D. O’Donovan for Mullane.

Referee: A. Rolland (IRFU).

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