As in the first game at Clifford Park in November (11-10), Young Munster snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, and it sparked off tremendous celebration from their small group of enthusiastic supporters.
As much as for scoring hero Sean Duggan and the team, it was a day of triumph for former Con stalwart David Corkery, who returned to his old club as Young Munster coach. For a long time it looked as if he would be disappointed, but his side’s dogged persistence eventually reaped a handsome reward.
Were it not for Lansdowne’s surprise win over leaders UCD the Limerick side would have moved up further to third, but Corkery and company will be satisfied with what they got.
Constitution, who led 14-6 at one stage, will be annoyed for letting it slip but Corkery had little sympathy: “We shouldn’t really have allowed them get that far ahead in the first place, they got two scores ahead and I don’t think they were that much better. I felt we were comfortable defending and Diarmaid McCarthy had a fantastic game in the centre. Yes, they had us in the maul and we had a good honest chat at half time, but I think the turning of the game was when we had a player sin binned and we actually dominated for that period. We didn’t score but they didn’t score either and it gave us huge encouragement.”
He continued: “We’ve only lost one game in the last eight and it is getting to the stage where they (players) are forgetting how to lose; it is the sign of a good side to be two scores behind playing away from home (and not give up). This is always a huge fixture for Young Munster, the guys in the club described the build up as ‘Con week’. The players trained really well, we had massive numbers out, and in the end it probably came down to Con shooting all they had in the first-half when, playing against the wind, they threw everything at us.”
Corkery’s counterpart Brian Hickey admitted his side yielded too easily. “I thought we were in a good position at 14-6 and then we had an opportunity to clear our line but put it out on the full and that was a big swing in momentum. Then I think we defended really poorly for the next 10 minutes, we gave them a sniff and the try off the maul came from that. ”
G Lawlor, M Abbott tries, T Quinlan 2 conversions, penalty.
A Ross, S Duggan tries, G Lyons 2 penalties, conversion.
T Quinlan, L O’Connell, N Kenneally, N Hodson, R Jermyn, D Lyons, R Foley, G Duffy, M Abbott, G Sweeney, B Hayes, C Kindregan, M Carey, J Ryan (captain), J Murphy.
J McHenry, B Quinlan, G Lawlor, C O’Flaherty, JJ O’Neill.
D O’Mahony, C O’Hanlon, D McCarthy, D Goggin, D O’Neill, G Lyons, A Griesel, D Begley, G Slattery, P Betts, D Duggan, T Goggin, A Kennedy, B Kilkenny, D Dee.
G Ryan, A Ross, M Vaughan, P Meyer, P Allen.
S Gallagher (IRFU).