Con cut loose to keep title hopes alive

Cork Constitution kept their Ulster Bank All-Ireland League dream alive with a devastating second half display at Temple Hill on Saturday.

The facile win, their first bonus point victory of the season, left coach Brian Walsh with a broad smile and high hopes that it will act as a springboard for the title run-in.

Walsh admitted: “I’m very happy. You get a bit anxious at this stage of the season as to what you’re playing for and as to whether you can push yourself up the table. We needed a big win and, coming off a difficult last match in Limerick (v Young Munster), it was important that we bounced back, played well and won.

“Games like this can go one way or another; you can gain a bit of confidence or lose a bit. We certainly gained some. We haven’t given up on winning the title but we are hanging on by our fingernails.

“We just have to deal with what is in front of us. We have Clontarf next week which is a huge game for us, we need to claw something back if we can and we have St Mary’s here later in the campaign, so all of these games are important.

“Today, we probably scored too easily too early but we got a lot better of a balance in the second half and put away the chances on a difficult day. “There was a lot of pace in the back line, we needed to break some of the shackles, go out there and play more rugby.

Seán Scanlon’s first half try, converted by Gerry Hurley, was the highlight of that opening 40 minutes for Constitution, as Blackrock’s Darragh Fitzpatrick kept them pinned down with a couple of excellently struck penalties.

Scott Deasy’s brilliant 41st minute try, the product of top-class work from back rower and man of the match Joe McSweeney, set the scene for the second half onslaught. Hurley nailed the conversion, tacked on a penalty and Robert Clune grabbed a try after Scanlon’s excellent break, with Hurley’s conversion bringing the score to 24-6.

Ivan Dinneen got the bonus point try after 57 minutes and Hurley converted that and another in the 75th minute from Deasy for a 38-6 advantage, with Dinneen adding the last try as gaps in the Blackrock defence opened up.

CORK CONSTITUTION: S Scanlon, C Quinn, S Deasy, I Dinneen, N O’Driscoll, J Holland, G Hurley, B Cagney, D Fogarty, J Ryan, P Donnellan, B Hayes, J McSweeney, J Ryan, B O’Hara.

Replacements: R Clune for O’Driscoll (23), A Cudmore for Fogarty, D Lyons for Holland (both 58), C Corkery for Cagney, B Cuttriss for Donnellan (both 61).

BLACKROCK: D Symonds, D Rowan, J Byrne, R Keogh, M Scott-Lennon, D Fitzgpatrick, M Walsh, J Barretto, R Fisher, A Lyons, D Dillon, A Dunlop, S Byrne, M Connelly, P McCague.

Replacements: R Fisher for Latham (17), B Thompson for Scott-Lennon, G Greene for Byrne (both 64).

Referee: J Lacey (IRFU).

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox