Constitution kept the flag flying for Munster clubs with their second win to follow on victories by Garryowen (2012) and Bruff (2011) in this competition for provincial cup champions.
They sometimes rode their luck in the first half against a plucky UCD side who contributed to their own downfall with a succession of handling errors. Those errors allowed Constitution to survive pressure and take advantage to hold a 10-6 lead at the interval.
UCD had made most of the first half running but conceded a crucial try off a series of mistakes. Full-back, and man of the match Darragh Lyons was the one to benefit and his touchdown turned the game for the hosts.
James Thornton opened the scoring with a penalty before Lyons’ try was converted by skipper Gerry Hurley. Thornton and Hurley then exchanged penalties to leave four between them at the break.
The Con full-back, through a drop goal attempt, and Hurley with a penalty effort, missed opportunities to extend the advantage but it mattered little as UCD struggled to win possession or territory.
After a thundering rolling maul, the pack created another penalty opportunity for Hurley after 14 minutes. He kicked that to extend the lead to 13-6 and then knocked over two more penalties in the 30th and 37th minutes of the half to secure a deserved win.
Constitution head coach Tom Mulcahy was delighted: “Defensively we were awesome; I asked them this morning to play Jack Charlton type rugby, to put them under pressure and force the errors and we got seven points out of that, Darragh’s try was because of the pressure we put them under.
“Yes, they looked dangerous in the first half but we were up in their faces, we were pushing up hard and it was a great defensive performance. In the second half we took control of the scrums, our line outs and mauls were good, and basically we played to our strengths.”
With Mulcahy describing it as a team performance, he did, however, single out Lyons for special mention. “I suppose in a sense he was the main man. He was amazing at times and his line kicking was brilliant.”
UCD’s coach Bobby Byrne conceded the better team won, accepting his side made too many errors: “Up to about ten minutes into the second half there wasn’t much in the game, we lost our discipline a little bit then.
“The first half was disruptive, we lost a couple of players through injury and had to shuffle guys around the place and we lost their rhythm a bit, the try they got in the first half was a bit fortunate. The conditions didn’t help our style of play, we made a lot of attacking handling errors and Con picked up the pieces from that, they fed off our mistakes in a sense.”
CORK CONSTITUTION: D Lyons, E O’Donnell, M Keyes, N Kenneally, C Desmond, J Holland, G Hurley (captain), G Duffy, A O’Driscoll, G Sweeney, J McSwiney, B Holland, G Lawlor, W Ryan, J Ryan.
Rolling replacements: M Abbott, C Corkery, R Burke, C O’Flaherty, L Cahill, R Foley, A Ryan.
UCD: A Boyle, S Coghlan-Murray, A Kelly, S Murphy, B Daly, J Thornton, J Glynn, J Tracey, R Byrne, K Moloney, S Grannell (captain), E MacMahon, J Van der Flier, E Joyce, M McGroarty.
Rolling replacements: L Hyland, B Cawley, R Harrison, A Clerkin, S O’Meara, N Earls, T Fletcher.
Referee: N Correll (IRFU).