There were no excuses for Constitution coach Tom Tierney as he tried to digest just how his charges left this one slip, after fighting back from a 10-3 deficit to lead 13-10 after 55 minutes.
He admitted it was a pretty inept performance overall, and credited St Mary’s for producing two crucial tries, the second quite brilliant that gave them a much-needed victory.
St Mary’s stay in ninth place but the win has moved them four points closer to Young Munster, whose defeat by Old Belvedere pushes them down further into the relegation zone.
“Very disappointing,” was how Tierney described the setback. “A few things didn’t go our way, especially in the first half when we let them in for a very good try from their point of view, but a very soft one from our perspective.
“We had a couple of missed chances in the opening 10 minutes, a few kicks that we missed although those kicks were quite difficult. I suppose they were fighting for their lives being down at the end of the table.”
Was there anything more they could have done to win? “I suppose not much, other than putting on the boots yourself, but sure at the end of the day guys go out there and don’t mean to play poorly and make mistakes but that’s the nature of it, sometimes things happen and sometimes it doesn’t go for you.
“However, everyone needs to get the points from home games, given that there is such a battle for places in the top four, because there are only 10 teams in the league and there is such little between the teams at the top and bottom. You’re starting to look over your shoulder now and it’s annoying that today we could have really copper-fastened our place in the top group.”
St Mary’s coach Peter Smyth had plenty to smile about as he watched his charges joyously enjoy the unexpected victory.
Tomas Quinlan kicked Con into an early lead but was unable to strengthen that position with further penalty chances. Dave Fanagan snatched the lead for Mary’s and Tomas O’Reilly kicked the conversion before kicking a first-half injury time penalty.
Con hit back when Quinlan kicked his second penalty and he then converted a 55th minute penalty try. However, Smyth will be happy at the way his side dealt with the conditions before producing that exceptional winning try from winger Ryan O’Loughlin midway through the half. “I’m absolutely delighted, it’s great to get points on the road, hopefully that’s turning the corner, it was badly needed,” said Smyth.
CORK CONSTITUTION: D Lyons (captain), D Sweetnam, M Keyes, N Kenneally, R Jermyn, T Quinlan, A Dorgan, G Duffy, M Abbott, G Sweeney, C O’Flaherty, D O’Brien, G Lawlor, J Murphy, L Cahill.
Rolling subs: A O’Driscoll, A Slattery, F McSwiney, S Dwyer, L Duffy.
ST MARY’S: R Crotty, R O’Loughlin, M O’Driscoll, M Sexton, S Toal-Lennon, S Kearns, D Fanagan, T O’Reilly, S McCarthy, R Sweeney, C Ruddock, K McKenna, R Sweeney, B O Flanagan, K Sheahan (captain),
Rolling subs. R O’Donovan, N Murphy, M Fallon, M Fallon, C Gilesnan, C Toolan.
Referee: O Hodges (IRFU).