Dolphin’s derby delight

NO WAY THROUGH: Dolphin's Rory Scannell and Harry Fleming combine to stop Cork Constitution's Cathal O'Flaherty during the AIL Division 1A clash at Musgrave Park. Picture: James Crombie

ULSTER BANK AIL DIVISION 1A:
Dolphin 14 Cork Constituion 9
Dolphin regained bragging rights in Cork rugby with an all-too rare but deserved Ulster Bank League Division 1A victory over Cork Constitution at Musgrave Park last night.

The pre-match dinner was all about banter, but there was no fun on the pitch as these rivals got down to the serious business of securing points and maintaining a challenge for honours.

Neither of them are out of the equation as Dolphin caught up and inflicted a first defeat of the season on their Temple Hill rivals.

This derby didn’t disappoint in terms of intensity, even if the excitement and tension of it all tended to get to the players for much of the contest.

At times it was all too much for Dolphin coach Steve Ford, but he was delighted nonetheless: “It was a great performance, it would have been nice to close it out and deny them a bonus point but I suppose I can’t complain because this was all about winning. It puts us right back into the equation and that was the aim before the game. I’m really happy with the display.”

It was nip and tuck for the first half but Dolphin missed out on six points through a couple of goal-kicking lapses by Rory Scannell. The young Dolphin out-half did kick one in response to an opener from Con’s Johnny Holland and the game was in stalemate, 3-3.

Dolphin made the biggest impact in the second half and nearly scored two tries on either side of the pitch, but both times they ended up in touch a few metres from Con’s line. That was after Scannell had kicked a 42nd-minute penalty to give the home side a deserved 6-3 lead.

Constitution drew level with a second penalty from Holland after 58 minutes but his side fell behind again quickly when Darren Sweetnam powered his way through a gap brilliantly created by out-half Scannell to touch down. Scannell’s conversion attempt came off an upright.

So, at 11-6 to Dolphin, it was home advantage but not quite the buffer they needed against a club that makes a habit of coming from behind.

Scannell did push out the lead to eight with a penalty on 67 minutes and that was at least a bit of breathing space.

However, Constitution did come back at them. Holland kicked a 76th-minute penalty to cut the gap to just five and Cathal O’Flaherty showed Dolphin just how precarious it was when Harry Fleming had to get back to snuff out a real try-scoring threat from the Con forward.

With John Quill off the field having been shown a yellow card, Constitution continued to push towards the finish line in a menacing manner. The seconds ticked away, the game went into the 82nd minute until finally referee Nigel Correll called a halt to allow the hosts to sneak home.

DOLPHIN: E Mills, D Sweetnam, J Gleeson, C Bohane, H Fleming, R Scannell, E O’Shaughnessy, B Scott, N Scannell, C Condon (capt), D O’Mahony, D O’Se, J Quill, J Fitzgerald, R Murphy.

Replacements: W Foley, P Ryan, M Cronin, H Fleming, C Bannon.

CORK CONSTITUTION: D Lyons (capt), C Quinn, N Kenneally, L Duffy, C Quinn, J Holland, R Foley, B Cagney, A O’Driscoll, G Sweeney, S O’Connor, C O’Flahery, J McSweeney, W Ryan, J Ryan.

Replacements used: M abbott, J Rochford, C Desmond, L Cahill, R Burke.

Referee: N Correll (IRFU).


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