Con had to fight harder than the scoreline suggests. They led 15-6 at half time, by 21-13 midway through the second half and were unable to make the game safe until Tomas Quinlan kicked a 76th-minute penalty and converted a breakaway try deep into injury time from James Murphy. But, despite the struggle, this was a vastly better performance than their recent showing again Young Munster and Garryowen.
“Last week, against Garryowen, we played some really good rugby but didn’t play smart. It was really about trying to get back to getting that right. “At a key point in the game we got our noses in front,” said head coach Brian Hickey.
Keeping ahead would have been pleasing in itself given Con’s habit of blowing leads late on. Saturday’s display showed they probably have learned from recent experiences. Hickey had every right to be pleased with his side’s dogged defence against a Lansdowne outfit that created a share of opportunities in an entertaining affair.
Naturally, Lansdowne coach Mike Ruddock was disappointed, noting the last couple of results — they also lost to Old Belvedere last week — hurt: “We can have no complaints about this one, Con deserved their win and we knew coming down that it was going to be difficult. We knew they were better than the league table positions indicated. Given the way this game went, I would be far more disappointed at the way we lost to Belvedere when we scored an own-goal if you like. The try that made a difference came after our full back kicked straight into the back of our centre, it rebounded over the line and they scored. That is still haunting us. Today, I just think Cork were the better team.”
Two former Con players did their best to spoil the party, though.Lansdowne skipper Scott Deasy and flanker Joe McSwiney who contributed all the points for the Dublin outfit. Con had first half tries from Conor Kindregan and Shane Daly, a conversion and penalty from Tomas Quinlan to a couple of penalties from Deasy. Quinlan made it 18-6 before McSwiney scored a fine try Deasy converted to peg it back to 18-13, but Quinlan added two penalties and Murphy scored that late, try.
S Daly, L O’Connell, N Hodson, N Kenneally (captain), R Jermyn, T Quinlan, J Higgins, L O’Connor, M Abbott, R Burke, B Hayes, C Kindregan, G Lawlor, J Murphy, E Mintern.
G Duffy, G Sweeney, S Dwyer, J Poland, D Lyons.
E Mills, D McEvoy, J O’Donnell, M Roche, C McMickan, S Deasy (captain), A Bennie, J Walsh, T Moran, N Mpiko, J O’Rourke, S Gardiner, J McSwiney, C Butterworth, W Earle.
T McEvoy, J Barry, P Boyle, M D’Arcy, J Howlett.
S Grove (Scotland)