Cork Con too strong for battling Highfield

Cork Constitution 31 Highfield 15: Highfield battled hard but just didn’t have enough overall class to see their way past holders Cork Constitution in an entertaining Munster Senior Cup semi-final clash at Temple Hill last night.
Cork Con too strong for battling Highfield

There was plenty of excitement and some encouragement also for Highfield, essentially a third division outfit against a side challenging for first division honours. In the end, though, they just didn’t have enough to push the champions over the edge.

Highfield started brightly but then had to give way to a period of total dominance from the home side, based largely on a vastly superior scrum.

Tomas Quinlan knocked over the opening score with a sixth minute penalty goal and he then converted a 14th minute penalty try, the product of superior power in the set piece.

Referee Kieran Barry finally lost patience with Highfield and ran in under the posts after a fourth powerful scrum left the ‘Field in trouble and Quinlan added the extra points for a 10-0 lead.

Highfield struck back quickly with an excellent try after 18 minutes from Jeremiah Cronin who took advantage of some hard work from his forward colleague David Kelly.

The gap between the teams in terms of where they lie in the Irish club pecking order was, however, often evident and Shane Daly scored an easy 26th minute try that Quinlan converted for a 17-5 lead.

There was to be no falling off from there for the reigning champions and Con stretched the lead quickly with a third try from Ned Hodson, again converted by Quinlan.

Highfield might well have pulled something back before the break but opted for an attacking scrum instead of taking a straight forward penalty kick. Not a clever option given their difficulty at scrum time.

But they did respond quickly after the break with a try from Fintan O’Sullivan, converted by Luke Kingston to narrow the gap to 24-12.

That was to be the spark for a Highfield comeback, with an improving scrum, that threatened seriously Constitution’s position as champions.

The visitors dominated the third quarter and got the next score as well, a penalty from Kingston to put his side to within nine points.

There was to be no shock, however, and Con struck back with 15 minutes on the clock when substitute Alex McHenry raced clear for a try that Quinlan converted.

That was enough to secure a place in the final against either Cashel or Young Munster, who meet in the second semi-final next weekend.

Cork Constitution:

S Daly, L O’Connell, N Hodson, N Kenneally, R Jermyn, T Quinlan, B Pope, G Duffy, M Abbott, G Sweeney, C Kindregan, B Hayes, J Murphy, R O’Neill, L Cahill.

Replacements used:

J McHenry, G Roche, S O’Leary, M Clune, C Barry, A McHenry, D Lyons.

Highfield:

P Martin, J McLoughlin, C Cunningham, M Dorgan, B Murphy, L Kingston, C Bannon, D O’Callaghan, D Healy, C Forde, D Kelly, F O’Sullivan, d O’Connell, D Lane, J Cronin.

Replacements used:

D O’Hea, I McCarthy, C Gallagher, O Linnell, K Foyle, D Horgan, D Houlihan.

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