Constitution’s early tries prove pivotal
St Mary’s late surge not enough to halt Cork
Cork con celebrate after beating St Mary’s to claim the Ulster Bank All Ireland Bateman Cup at Templeville Road. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
St Mary’s College 13 Cork Constitution 22: First-half tries from Robert Clune and Scott Deasy proved pivotal at Templeville Road on Saturday afternoon, as Cork Constitution held off a strong second-half fightback by a Gavin Dunne-inspired St Mary’s College to secure their third All-Ireland Cup crown, and their first since completing a league and cup double back in 2010.
Constitution took a deserved lead after just four minutes as outhalf Johnny Holland kicked a 25-metre penalty.
Full-back Dunne was on hand to cancel this score with a place kick effort of his own from the left-hand touchline, but further indiscipline from the hosts led to Holland’s second penalty after 15 minutes.
An intelligent move from a scrum (initiated by scrumhalf and captain Gerry Hurley) found its way towards Cronan Healy, who put fellow winger Clune through for an unconverted try in the corner.
St Mary’s kept in touch with a brace of penalties from Dunne either side of Holland’s third of the day, but a powerful drive over the line by outside centre Deasy (following a neat off-load by Holland, who also applied the bonus) gave Constitution a 21-9 interval lead.
St Mary’s fought back and an extended spell of play in the Constitution 22 eventually led to flanker Gareth Austin reaching over from an enterprising maul on the right-flank. Dunne converted and with 25 minutes remaining he added a 40-metre penalty.
St Mary’s continued to press but the Constitution defence stood firm and a superb late drop goal from distance by Holland sealed the visitors’ victory.
ST MARY’S : G Dunne; S Toal-Lennon, M O’Driscoll, R Hudson, D Fanning; P Brophy, M D’Arcy; C McMahon, Richard Sweeney, Rob Sweeney, C Ruddock, G Sexton, K Sheahan, G Austin, D Keller. Replacements: C Hogan for Toal-Lennon (25), A Lyons for Rob Sweeney (54), S Bradshaw for Sexton (59-78), D Fawsitt for Richard Sweeney (68), Richard Sweeney for Keller (71), M Fallon for Austin (76), Robert Sweeney for McMahon (78).
CORK CONSTITUTION: D Lyons; R Clune, S Deasy, A Ryan, C Healy; J Holland, G Hurley; B Carney, A O’Driscoll, C Corkery, B Hayes, J McSwiney, G Lawlor, J Ryan, C O’Flaherty. Replacements: D O’Brien for Lawlor (65-69), J Ratchford for Carney (69), N O’Driscoll for A Ryan (71).
Referee: D Wilkinson (IRFU).