No excuses as Ford ready for revenge

COACH Steve Ford made no excuses following Dolphin’s AIB League defeat to Cork Constitution at Temple Hill last week. A week on, a rematch at the same venue (2.30pm), and with a place in the league final at stake, neither is he about to start.

He might have thought his side had lost a golden opportunity to take part in the play-offs when Constitution kicked a late penalty that denied Dolphin a losing bonus point in the 23-13 game last week.

But unwittingly, Garryowen did Dolphin a favour by snatching a 9-8 win over Shannon and Dolphin stayed where they were at the start of the day — in third place — with a rematch against the AIB Cup holders on the cards.

Ford said: “We are delighted with the way our season has gone, delighted to be in the play-offs but it doesn’t end there; we have two games to win the competition; to get to the play-offs for the first time in the history of the club is one thing, but you don’t want it to end there, do you?”

And even though some of the power — James Coughlan, Nick Williams, Dave Ryan and Danny Barnes — has gone forward for Munster duty, Ford is optimistic.

“To be honest, even though we survived to get to this stage, we were disappointed with our performance last week; we know we can play a lot better than that and this is what we will be looking forward to now,” he said.

Constitution will be fancied on the basis of last week’s result but they have their own representative deficit — Tom Gleeson, Scott Deasy, Simon Zebo and Peter O’Mahony have been called up for Munster duty, while Duncan Williams is a doubtful starter with an ankle injury.

Meanwhile, St Mary’s College are raging hot favourites to advance from the other semi-final but even their most optimistic follower isn’t getting ahead of themselves after the gruelling battle they had with today’s opponents, Old Belvedere, in February’s Leinster Senior Cup final, which they won 9-3.

Mary’s coach Peter Smyth is in little doubt that it will be more difficult than the prohibitive odds of 3/10 suggest for the Templeville Road outfit. “That was a good cup final, very intense and both sides played some great rugby. We were happy to win it but we knew we were in a huge contest and we don’t expect any less this weekend,” he said.

It’s hard to see anyone stopping runaway Division Two leaders Lansdowne as they take on DLSP, who squeezed rather than eased their way into fourth spot.

Meanwhile, Bruff emerged from the chasing pack behind Lansdowne to finish second and might get a chance to take on the Dublin side in the final, given that they will be favoured to repeat an earlier victory over Terenure in the second semi-final at Kilballyowen Park. They beat Terenure 32-13 in Dublin last time out; home advantage and the boost of local support should help them through again.

Another points scoring machine — Queens University — will be expected to click into gear in a third division semi-final against Banbridge, while Midleton take on Nenagh Ormond in an all-Munster game at Towns Park, Midleton.

DOLPHIN: N. O’Driscoll, R. Kenneally, E. Moloney, K. Lynch, P. Hurley, D. Keeshan, S. Cronin, R. O’Neill, A. O’Driscoll, C. Condon, K. O’Dwyer, C. Roe, F. Stone, R. Allen, G. Finn.

CORK CON (probable): R. Lane, C. Jouve, A. Ryan, E. Ryan, C. Healy, D. Lyons, A. N. Other; M. Gateley, R. Quinn, S. Archer, I. Nagle, B. Hayes, M. O’Connell, F. Cogan, E. Leamy.

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