As it stands now, leaders Clontarf (55) have seven points to spare at the top and they look certain to have a home tie, while Young Munster (48), Con (47) and UCD (46) will battle it out for home advantage in the last four. Having watched his side play well against a strong wind and a vigorous first-half challenge from Terenure, Constitution head coach Brian Hickey was able to relax in the final quarter as his charges pulled clear to secure a bonus point win.
Naturally, Hickey was pleased, noting that Terenure were never going to give up easily: “We played well. Last year Con beat them up there, they came down here and beat Con so we were very conscious and focused on that.”
Difficult conditions? “Funny, the pitch was dry one minute, then the amount of water on the pitch after one of the thunder storms was incredible. It was bitterly cold throughout, even when it wasn’t raining.”
Hickey is pleased that league destiny is in their own hands but remains wary: “The thing is now that we’re playing at the right end which is great, but with two very tough games to come, against two teams (Lansdowne and Galwegians) that could have a lot to say about this.”
Constitution enjoyed a storming start, grabbing a very important third-minute try from Conor Kindregan, whose power and pace proved too much for the Terenure defence. Tomas Quinlan converted but his side yielded advantage after 15 minutes when Jake Swaine got in for a try. He converted himself, then kicked a penalty to make it 10-7 20 minutes in.
But the wind proved no friend to Terenure and they needlessly gave away advantage by kicking too long and inaccurately. Con played clever rugby keeping ball in hand and a 33rd-minute try from centre Niall Kenneally put them back in control. Quinlan’s conversion and a 43rd-minute penalty was fair return for a decent first-half display.
Five minutes after the break, David Wilkinson awarded Con a penalty try, converted by Quinlan and even Kevin O’Dwyer’s try converted by Swaine to leave the score at 24-17 wasn’t enough to knock the home side off target. Quinlan added two penalties to put daylight between the sides and, with the game won, their patience was rewarded when Quinlan scored an opportunist try he converted himself.
T Quinlan; A Spring, N Hodson, N Kenneally, R Jermyn; D Lyons (captain), R Foley; G Duffy, M Abbott, G Sweeney; B Hayes, C Kindregan; G Lawlor, S Dwyer, L Cahill.
R Burke, B Quinlan, C O’Flaherty, J Poland, L O’Connell
I Hanly; J Swaine, J O’Donoghue, H Brewer, M Byrne-Kicher; J Thornton, K O’Neill; K Moloney, R Byrne, O Heffernan; K O’Dwyer (captain), M Melia;, J Dever, N O’Sullivan, E Joyce.
R Smith, G Hamilton, P Thornton, M O’Neill, M Hiney.
D Wilkinson (IRFU)