Young Munster knew it was going to be a tough and disappointing day when they failed to convert a penalty midway through the second half that would have brought them back within sight of the victors
Triumphant coach Brian Hickey, who also led Young Munster in the past, was magnanimous in victory. “I suppose it went on a couple of bounces of the ball at times. At 9-0, the game was up for grabs; this was a tough game, a real test and a full-on game for the 80 minutes. I think we were fortunate in a sense because you have a timeline with the wind and we got our three points, our six points and nine points at important stages.
“You should be hitting the timeline; they missed a penalty that wasn’t out by much but they didn’t score from that and that gave us a bit of impetus again.
“Our defence was magnificent, there were some really good performances and Luke Cahill, after a very serious injury last year was exceptional.”
This was always going to be a battle between two well matched teams but Con edged ahead after 10 minutes when Tomas Quinlan succeeded from the second of his early penalty kicks.
The holders did have the bulk of territory though and Quinlan had a third opportunity that he nailed in the 30th minute.
Young Munster started to bare their teeth late in the first half but conceded two successive penalties in good attacking positions and then a third as Con worked their way into the danger zone.
Quinlan knocked over another successful kick in the 40th minute for that nine point lead.
The penalty count of 9-3 and a poor line-out return was a heavy burden to bear for the Limerick side, although things appeared to take a turn for the better after the break, especially after Quinlan scuffed a drop goal attempt in the opening minute.
‘Munster’s launched a series of furious assaults that left Constitution desperately, holding on to their lead, their inspirational number eight Cahill and flanker Graeme Lawlor always in the thick of that rearguard action.
It didn’t help the Limerick outfit that Alan Tynan’s first penalty opportunity — in the 60th minute — drifted to the right of the posts and under-pressure Constitution were able to re-group again.
If anything, Con grew in stature and they sealed the victory two minutes from the end when skipper Niall Kenneally made the crucial break to send Rob Jermyn speeding away for a try in the corner. At 14-0 there was no way back for Young Munster.
- A minute’s silence was observed for the late Bobby O’Brien of Thurles RFC.
L O’Connell, JJ O’Neill, N Hodson, N Kenneally (captain), R Jermyn, T Quinlan, J Higgins, G Duffy, M Abbott, R Burke, B Hayes, C Kindregan, G Lawlor, J Murphy, L Cahill.
V O’Brien, G Sweeney, C Barry, M Clune, J Poland, L Duffy, S O’Leary.
S Airey, C O’Hanlon, J O’Connor, C Bohane, M Vaughan, A Tynan, J Lyons, G Ryan, G Slattery (captain), C Skehan, T Goggin, M Madden, A Kennedy, D Walsh, D Ryan.
M O’Mara, P Allen, A McCloskey, D Begley, R Guerin, P Downes, E Mundu.
G Clancy (IRFU).