Cork Constitution survived a stirring Young Munster second-half fightback to retain the Munster Senior Cup at Musgrave Park last night.
Appearing in their seventh final in eight years, Con were winning their seventh title in the spell.
They led 16-3 at half-time after dominating the opening period despite having captain Niall Kenneally in the sin-bin following a harsh yellow card for a high tackle in the 20th minute.
At the time Con were 6-0 in front via a couple of monster penalties from Sean French and while Evan Cusack kicked a Munsters penalty, the holders coped brilliantly with 14 men.
French completed a hat-trick of super kicks from the 10m line after 29 minutes before Con grabbed the critical opening try.
Within a minute of Kenneally’s return, Con won a close-range line-out and mauled their way over for hooker John Sutton to score. Gerry Hurley converted.
A magnificent individual try from wing JJ O’Neill within two minutes of the resumption strengthened Con’s position at 21-3.
Munsters’ captain Alan Kennedy replied with a try after 57 minutes, converted by Cusack.
And a second try from prop Conor Bartley, seven minutes from the end, converted superbly by Cusack, cut the deficit to four points.
Hurley’s penalty a minute from the end eased Con’s nerves.
S French; JJ O’Neill, A McHenry, N Kenneally, captain, R Jermyn; G Hurley, D Williams; G Duffy, J Sutton, D Murphy; B Hayes, S Duffy; J McSwiney, D Hyland, R O’Neill. Subs: V O’Brien, L Masters, G Sweeney, C O’Flaherty, J Murphy, R Foley, J Costigan.
A Tynan; C O’Hanlon, L Fitzgerald, H Flemming, K Stephenson; E Cusack, J Lyons; D Begley, M O’Mara, C Bartley; S Rigney, A Kennedy; J Foley, J Stewart, C Mitchell. Subs: J Wycherly, P Allen, F Coleman, D Corcoran, J Kiely, C O’Doherty, T Goggin.
J Neville (IRFU)