The Limerick side appeared to be comfortably heading for a third successive victory when Constitution dug deep to produce an injury-time try from Ivan Dinneen and a brilliant touchline conversion from Johnny Holland.
Constitution could hardly believe their luck as their supporters reflected on a sizeable chunk of good fortune to rescue a game that appeared to have slipped away from them. They did outscore the opposition 3-1 on the try count and their ability to score those five pointers ultimately told.
Although Constitution coach Brian Walsh admitted there was an element of fortune, he was pleased at his side’s scoring ability and the way they refused to throw in the towel. “It’s a good sign of a team to be able to come back from where they were so late, and the conversion from Johnny Holland was a real pressure kick.”
He had no argument from his Young Munster counterpart Mike Prendergast on that score: “That was one great kick.”
Prendergast was disappointed at the way it slipped away, however. “When you’re in the position we were in you really should be winning matches; at six ahead we really should have closed the game off but we made a couple of mistakes and gave them a sniff. There are not too many teams as good as Con in taking chances,” he said.
The visitors led 8-7 at the interval thanks to a try from Paul Duggan and penalty from Brian Haugh to a Robert Clune try converted by Holland. Haugh guided Young Munster into a 14-7 lead with two penalties before Dinneen scored the first of his two tries and Holland converted. Haugh restored Young Munster’s lead with two further penalties but Dinneen’s late try and Holland’s conversion secured a remarkable victory.
The shock of the weekend was the manner in which Lansdowne disposed of St Mary’s College in Friday night’s Dublin derby at Templeville Road. Lansdowne scored five tries, three of them from winger Cian Aherne, to bag a bonus point victory and keep them top of the table ahead of the only other unbeaten club, Garryowen.
The light blues were also in scoring form and secured five points in the 34-15 win over Old Belvedere at Dooradoyle.
Young Munster still hold third position ahead of Dolphin who inflicted another defeat on struggling Shannon, and Constitution’s win leaves them in fifth position.
Division 1B leaders Malone secured another five points with a facile 46-3 win over Bruff, but UCD failed to keep pace when they were stunned at home by Ballynahninch, the Ulster club winning 24-13.
Division 2A leaders Banbridge secured their third straight bonus point win when proving much too good for Highfield at Rifle Park, and a five pointer for Terenure over Queens University pushed them into second place ahead of Corinthians, who had their third straight win, a hard fought 19-7 success over Cashel.
Division 2B pace-setters Navan, Naas and Rainey all continued on their winning ways, Navan beating Boyne, Naas pipping Skerries and Rainey proving much too good for Sundays Well at Musgrave Park.