Holders Cork Constitution, with 25 titles, duly advanced from this latest encounter with Young Munster to meet old rivals Garryowen (38 titles).
According to visiting coach John Staunton, it was a thoroughly deserved win for the Cork side.
“We never gave up, but we never showed up,” the Munsters coach admitted. “Con appeared to want this much more, they were probably reeling after us beating them in the league a few weeks back. If you turn up to play Cork Constitution at less than 100 per cent you’re not going to win.
“Con kept the scoreboard ticking over and lived off our mistakes in the first half. Some of our guys didn’t front up today and Con got one or maybe two tries that looked as if they were scored in a tip rugby competition. It’s just disappointing because we left ourselves with too much to do. In fairness to Con’s Jerry (Hurley) and Darragh (Lyons), their game management was excellent, they bossed it well, Jerry organised it well from behind and when he does that they’re always going to provide problems for the opposition. That was probably one of the main differences between the sides.”
It was never a stroll for Con though — after taking an 18-3 lead by the 45th minute, they had to withstand various degrees of Young Munster pressure, as they worked their way back to score twice and make it just a five point game by the three quarter mark.
Constitution head coach Tom Tierney described it as a tough match overall. “They didn’t go away, it was tough as it always is against these guys, but it’s great to be in another cup final.
“It’s a new experience for me to be in a final with Cork Con as opposed to Garryowen, but it should be a great occasion.”
Mixed feelings? “Not really, I’m down here in Cork to do a job and I’ll do that to be best of my ability, that’s my goal, to win a senior cup for the club.
“Down a lower division, it won’t make them any less difficult, after last year’s cup final (9-6), they’ll be bulling for road so it is going to be a very tough game. To retain the title was one of the main goals at the start of the season but we couldn’t have picked a more difficult team to play in the final.”
Willie Staunton put Young Munster in front with a long-range drop-goal but a try from Rory Horgan and two penalties from Lyons pushed Con into an 11-3 half time lead. Andy O’Driscoll and Lyons combined for a seven pointer after the break before Ger Slattery’s try and Ben Martin’s penalty gave Young Munster hope. That was before Niall Kenneally’s try that Tomas Quinlan converted and the game’s only remaining scores came through penalties from Martin and Quinlan.
CORK CONSTITUTION: M Keyes, K Desmond, N Kenneally, R Horgan, R Jermyn, D Lyons, J Hurley (captain), G Duffy, A O’Driscoll, C Corkery, F McSwiney, D O’Brien, G Lawlor, S Dwyer, J Ryan.
Replacements: J Murphy for McSwiney (inj., 42) T Quinlan for Kenneally (inj., 60), L Cahill for Dwyer (70), G Murray for Corkery (inj., 77)
YOUNG MUNSTER: B Martin, E Carr, E O’Keeffe, K Hifo, D O’Connor, W Staunton, E Mulcay, E Ryan, G Slattery (capt.), G Ryan, D Gallaher, T Goggin, Y Browne, D Ryan, S Rennison.
Replacements: G Flaherty for E Ryan (injured, 40), L O’Halloran (57), P Staff for G Ryan (58). Temporary. C O’Hanlon for Staunton (17-28), P Allen for Browne (27-36), C Clohessy for Hifo (57-65)
Referee: O Hodges (IRFU).