Con ready to gain revenge

CORK CONSTITUTION coach Brian Walsh won’t find it difficult to motivate his troops before today’s ODM Munster Senior Cup semi-final with old rivals Garryowen at Musgrave Park (2.30pm).

All that’s required is to remind them of a galling last minute AIB League defeat (19-20) at Dooradoyle a fortnight ago and, perhaps, to highlight the fact it’s 20 years since the cup last came to Temple Hill.

Walsh may not be totally pleased with Con’s current form, but he’s happy the club is still involved in the shake-up for honours in the three major club competitions — the AIB League and cup and the provincial competition.

He sees today’s game as an opportunity to set the record straight and for the players to gain experience of dealing with the intensity of cup rugby. “You get one chance in the cup, that’s it, lose and you’re out, there are no second chances,” said Walsh, who conceded Garryowen deserved to win the recent league encounter.

“Even though the win came late, we just didn’t play as we should have and we paid the price,” he said.

Walsh is a firm supporter of the Munster Cup, even if the introduction and development of the AIB League has consigned it to being of secondary importance. He pointed to the fact Con had to meet and beat such difficult opposition as UL Bohs, Shannon and UCC to get to this stage.

“With a very tough encounter ahead of us, it’s going to be a very difficult trophy to win. There’s still a big edge to the competition, particularly when it comes to playing against the Limerick clubs. Whoever wins this cup will have deserved it,” said Walsh.

Con are without the injured Darragh Hurley and Tom Ryan. Tim Ryan is named at tight head prop and Ryan Hassan comes in at loose head.

Old Crescent take on Bruff in the second semi-final today at Dooradoyle (2.30pm) and will be without club captain Phil Glamuzina, who has returned to New Zealand to spend Christmas with his family. Mark Ryan takes over the captaincy and features in a pack that includes Munster prop Eugene McGovern.

Crescent will, however, be without scrum-half Alan Purcell, who has exam commitments and second-row Donal Sheehan, who is away on business.

That semi-final will be equally as interesting between two sides whose history in this competition contrasts greatly with Garryowen and Con. Whilst Garryowen and Con have won the competition 58 times between them, both Bruff and Old Crescent are both awaiting their first title.

This game is a repeat of their second round clash in the AIB Cup, Bruff winning 15-11. Bruff have made great strides over the last decade as they climbed up the ranks from junior to senior.

They go from strength to strength and, having topped the third division last year, are now at the top end of the second division. They produced an impressive display to dispatch of Dolphin in the quarter-final and will be brimming with confidence.

Old Crescent have improved since the start of the season and were very impressive against Sunday’s Well side in their quarter-final, while they also ended Ballynahinch’s unbeaten run in the league two weeks ago.

CORK CONSTITUTION: D. Hurley, R. Lane, T. Gleeson, E. Ryan, C. Healy, D. Lyons, D. Williams, R. Hassan, L. Gabrial, T. Ryan, M. O’Connell, D. Kelly, E. Leamy, B. Holland, B. Cuttriss (captain)

GARRYOWEN (probable team): C. Kilroy, L. Bourke, K. Hartigan, C. Doyle, Ciaran O’Boyle, W. Staunton, Cillian O’Boyle, R. Brosnan, M. Sherry, D. Lavery, J. McKenna, M. Melbourne, P. Neville (captain), J. O’Sullivan, A. Kavanagh.

OLD CRESCENT: R. Moloney, A. O’Carroll, B. Leahy, D. Grace, E. Dalton, M. Woods, D. Ryan, T. Bowles, P. Humphries, E. McGovern, C. McNamara, P. Breen, L. Viapula, M. Ryan (capt), J. O’Neill.

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