Commanding Cork Con repel late challenge from St Mary’s

St Mary’s College 16 Cork Constitution 20: Cork Constitution survived a late onslaught from St Mary’s College to claim a narrow win in Division 1A of the Ulster Bank League at Templeville Road on Saturday.

Tries from Rob Jermyn, Liam O’Connell and Niall Kenneally helped the Leesiders to a commanding 17-3 lead in the early stages of the second-half, and even though their Sean Kearns-inspired opponents gathered serious momentum in the final-quarter, Con head coach Brian Hickey was delighted with the way his side dealt with a potent Mary’s back-three.

“I suppose it should have been maybe more comfortable at one stage in the game, but that’s the one thing about Mary’s/Con games,” he said.

“We haven’t played each other for a couple of years, but prior to that they were always very tough.

“They played with a lot of width. What little we knew of them, we knew they would do that. The have a very, very speedy back-three. I was worried, [but] I was delighted with how we coped in the end.”

Con — runners-up in last May’s Ulster Bank League decider — opened the scoring in the fifth minute, when winger Jermyn crossed over in the right corner, while a strong break into enemy territory by Kenneally enabled O’Connell to touch down six minutes before the break.

Tomas Quinlan comfortably supplied the bonuses on this occasion, before a stoppage-time Kearns penalty meant that Con brought a 12-3 advantage into the second period. However, they extended their lead within 60 seconds of the restart — when Jermyn provided the spadework for a much-deserved five-pointer from Kenneally.

The visitors appeared to be in pole position at this point, but the sin-binnings of Ger Sweeney and Conor Kendergan (in the 48th and 58th minutes respectively) left them facing into a numerical disadvantage for large spells. Indeed, the gap was subsequently reduced to a minimum after Kearns supplemented a seven-point salvo on 70 minutes with his third successful penalty, but Quinlan split the posts deep into time added on to secure the spoils for the Temple Hill outfit.

Scorers for St Mary’s College:

S Kearns try, 3 pens, con.

Scorers for Cork Constitution:

R Jermyn, L O’Connell, N Kenneally try each, T Quinlan pen, con.

ST MARY’S COLLEGE:

J McDonnell; T Kennedy, R O’Loughlin, I Dineen, M Fogarty; S Kearns, P O’Driscoll; T O’Reilly, H Kean, B McGovern; C Ruddock, C O’Flaherty; N McCarthy, D Aspil, K Sheahan.

Replacements:

D Keller for Sheahan (14), I Cullinane for McDonnell (35), R Halpin for O’Flaherty (67).

CORK CONSTITUTION:

S Daly; L O’Connell, N Hodson, N Kenneally, R Jermyn; T Quinlan, J Poland; G Duffy, M Abbott, G Sweeney; B Hayes, D O’Shea; E Mintern, S Dwyer, C Kendergan.

Replacements:

J Higgins for Quinlan (51), L O’Connor for Dwyer (52-59), G Roche for Abbott, Quinlan for Poland (both 74), JJ O’Neill for Jermyn (77).

Referee:

Stuart Gaffikin (IRFU).


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