Con going all out to finish the season on a high

Playing on home soil may not be an overwhelming advantage for holders Cork Con in today’s Bateman Cup final against UCD at Temple Hill (2.30pm).

Con going all out to finish the season on a high

Why? Because Constitution’s home record in this season’s Ulster Bank League isn’t likely to intimidate today’s opponents.

Yes, Con did beat the students 14-6 in the return leg of a double-header (UCD won 23-17 in Belfield) and also secured wins over Lansdowne and Garryowen and a draw in the last match of the season with St Mary’s College but, of their nine home games, they lost five and that’s a record of which they’re not particularly proud. Having started the league campaign with a gallop, Constitution pulled up in the second third of the campaign and had to settle for a supporting role as Clontarf and Old Belvedere slugged it out for the title.

From that perspective, it was a disappointing season as they finally finished fifth behind Clontarf, Belvedere, UCD and Lansdowne. And the biggest frustration for the coach Tom Mulcahy was that poor home record.

“The league campaign was hugely frustrating,” he said. “We were only beaten once on the road and that was the killing thing. We were beaten by UCD in a game that we might have won. We beat Clontarf, St Mary’s, Lansdowne and Ballinahinch and drew away to Belvedere but fell down with a succession of home defeats.

“You’d wonder was it psychological. We’ve spoken a lot about it but we had a decent last game against St Mary’s with a good first-half, we had a poor spell in the second but we came back to draw the game and showed a good bit of character to do so.”

The positive for Constitution is that they are traditionally very successful cup campaigners and Mulcahy described the availability of Munster’s Billy Holland as a major boost.

“We’re probably as strong as we possibly can be. We have Billy available to us, Gerry Hurley is there as captain and JohnnyHolland at half back. We’re upbeat and have trained very hard during the week. Obviously bringing the boys in was difficult, but they’re professionals and they’ve slotted in quite easily. We’re just looking forward to the game now and hopefully we can finish the season on a high.”

CORK CON: D Lyons, O Donnell, M Keyes, N Kenneally, C Desmond, J Holland, G Hurley (captain), G Duffy, A O’Driscoll, G Sweeney, B Holland, J McSwiney, G Lawlor, W Ryan, J Ryan.

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