Constitution’s five tries secured a well deserved bonus point victory and new head coach Tom Mulcahy was well pleased with the positive team display, highlighted by a magnificent debut from young scrum-half Ryan Foley.
With captain Gerry Hurley sidelined through injury and first-choice out-half Jonathan Holland ruled out through illness, Mulcahy was impressed by the instant rapport struck up between Foley and experienced half-back partner Darragh Lyons.
Mulcahy enthused: “He has just played U20 for Munster and this was his first adult game. I’m delighted for the kid, he did it in front of Mike Ruddock (the Lansdowne and Ireland U20 coach) and he really couldn’t have performed better. His basics were fantastic, his passing, kicking, tackling, I’m delighted with him.”
However, the Con boss saw room for improvement on this performance. “I was a bit cheesed off at conceding two tries at the end although the game was over as a contest at that stage. Lansdowne ran away with the league last year and we were hugely worried when we became aware of the draw for the first couple of games, an away tie to Division 1B winners Ballynahninch and then Lansdowne, the champions. But to come out of those games with nine points is brilliant, it was a fantastic performance against the champions.”
Constitution hit the ground running and maintained a high tempo performance until the closing stages. Flanker James Ryan picked up two tries after tremendous work on both occasions from Joe McSwiney; Cathal Quinn got a third score and Lyons tacked on two conversions against a couple of penalties from Scott Deasy for Constitution to lead 19-6 at the break.
Niall Kenneally secured the bonus point a minute into the second half and Lyons converted that and the fifth try from William Ryan midway through the half before Lansdowne struck late with unconverted tries from Cian Aherne and Brian O’Callaghan, leaving Ruddock with plenty of food for thought. “We showed glimpses of what we are capable of towards the end but we simply weren’t good enough on the day. However, there’s no cause for panic, I’ve been involved with teams in this position before and we’re well capable of bouncing back,” he said.
CORK CONSTITUTION: Chris Quinn, Cathal Quinn, L Duffy, N Kenneally, C Desmond, D Lyons, R Foley, B Cagney, A O’Driscoll, J Sweeney, J McSwiney, S O’Connor, G Lawlor, W Ryan, J Ryan.
Replacements used: J Rochford, L Cahill, G Sweeney, G Ó Súilleabháin, P Parfrey.
LANSDOWNE: R McCarron, C Toolin, T Farrell, M Roche, C Aherne, S Deasy, P O’Driscoll, P Dooley, T Moran, D O’Reilly, W Earle, T O’Beirne, C Ross, R Boucher, C Butterworth.
Replacements used: A Boland, S Collins, B O’Callaghan, G McDonald, C McAndrews.
Referee. L Colgan (MAR).