Cork Constitution 23 Shannon 15
Tries in either half from Conor Desmond and Gerry Hurley, combined with flawless kicking from Johnny Holland, saw Cork Constitution return to winning ways at Temple Hill on Saturday to condemn Shannon to a seventh straight league defeat.
Saturday’s win takes Brian Walsh’s charges up to fourth in the All-Ireland League while Shannon remain rooted at the bottom with just two losing bonus points. The Limerick outfit dominated possession in the first-half but a resolute Constitution shut them out and Desmond’s intercept try helped the home side to a 13-0 lead at half-time.
Shannon found a cutting edge after the restart. Rob Guerin’s try brought them back into the game. But Con raised their game and Hurley poached a vital five-pointer while Shannon’s Fergal Walsh was sin-binned.
“Our defence was on top in the first half, that’s where we got our scores,” said Hurley afterwards.
“Psychologically it should have been a good thing but then we came out and leaked 10 points straight away. We kept our patience, we didn’t lose the cool. We went back to what we always focus on, went back to basics really and got back into the game.”
Considering their points differential stands at -20, Hurley insists Con must be satisfied with their league standing approaching the midway point.
“We have to be very content. We had number of very close wins, we could have lost all of those and we have to count ourselves lucky to be where we are.
“Looking at our points difference we could be right down [the table] and struggling but we’ve shown a bit of bottle I think to win games and we’re definitely very happy where we are.”
Brendan Cuttriss and Brian Hayes were prominent in defence for Constitution early on and having absorbed early Shannon pressure, Holland kicked his side into the lead on 10 minutes. The Limerick side suffered a sucker punch when Desmond picked off a Tadhg Bennett pass to race over for the game’s first try. Holland added the extras before slotting a penalty before the break.
Constitution responded to Guerin’s try and penalty conversion with their best spell of the game with John Ryan making hard yards. The pressure produced three points from Holland’s boot and saw Walsh yellow carded.
Hurley made a captain’s contribution with an opportunistic try on 66 minutes when the ball squirted out the back of a Shannon scrum on their own line and the scrum-half pounced to leave his side 23-10 ahead.
Cormac O’Donnell pulled a try back for Shannon but Richard Mullane couldn’t convert from the touchline ensuring Shannon left empty-handed.
Scorers for Cork Con: Tries: C Desmond, G Hurley; Cons: J Holland (two). Pens: Holland (three).
Scorers for Shannon: Tries: R Guerin, C O’Donnell; Con: Guerin; Pen: Guerin.
CORK CONSTITUTION: D Lyons; N O’Driscoll, R Clune, P Parfrey, C Desmond; J Holland, G Hurley; B Cagney, A O’Driscoll, J Ryan; B Hayes, P Donnellan; C O’Flaherty, B Cuttriss, J Ryan.
Subs: G Lawlor, A Cudmore, P Galvin, B O’Hara.
SHANNON: J Loxton; C O’Donnell, E Maloney, R Mullane, L O’Dea; T Bennett, R Guerin; M Horan, D Casey, G McNamara; K Hanley, F Walsh; S McCarthy, M Cullane, J Murphy. Subs: J Cronin, K Griffen, W O’Connor, M D’Arcy.
Referee: N Correll (IRFU).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved