Gritty DLSP end barren spell in style


In a match that pitched and rolled for a full 87 minutes, the head kept saying not to lose faith in Cork Con and that DLSP would at some stage flounder. Before the weekend DLSP had drawn one game from six and had scored 49 points. Therein lies the romance of their first win of the season.

We can pick over the bones of the statistics but they will say little of the emotion of a contest which produced nine tries and where DLSP were successful with only two kicks from ten attempts. Karl Lillis, who replaced full back Eddie Devitt, crossed for the winning try in the closing minutes. The 77th minute substitute barely had his collar felt as he triumphantly romped through a jaded looking Con, who visibly wilted in the last twenty minutes.

In such high stakes games, the final flurry is often the only moment which lingers but this contest, unusually, buzzed and twisted at every turn as the lead changed seven times. While Lillis coveted the glory, it was the peerless Shane Stephens, who orchestrated the game for DLSP. "It's definitely our best result," said coach Phil Werahiko. "We moved the ball constantly around the park and they tired." Cork Con's Michael Bradley was gracious in defeat. "We tried hard but from 20 minutes out we looked tired. They played well and in their number 13 (Stephens) they've a very good player," he said.

A hat-trick from right-wing John Corr complemented much of the good work from the DLSP backs and pack. Trailing 19-13 at halftime DLSP went on to concede further ground as O'Gara's boot brought his side to 19-30 just after the hour.

It was then vulnerability began to creep into the visitors game. Corr gathered his third try while left wing Mark Cunningham brought the score to 29-30. Referee Dave McHugh almost caused a pitch invasion when a Stephen's pass was judged to be forward as Devitt galloped over for what would have been the winning try. O'Riordan then compounded the home side's evident frustrations, pulling what would have been the winning penalty left on 80 minutes.

It was fittingly that Stephens should initiated the final move. His tap penalty put DLSP into a forward sweep, Lillis gratefully taking the ball at speed to cruise in untouched. Their next match against Clontarf could make or break DLSP's season while Con's hopes of retaining the title look bleak.

Scoring sequence: 3 mins R O'Gara pen 0-3; 10 mins J Corr try 5-3; 14 mins O'Gara pen 5-6; 26 mins Corr try , M Kavanagh con 12-6; 35 mins A Sherrard try, O Gara con 12-13; 40 mins B Wood try, Kavanagh con 19-13. Halftime. 42 mins O'Gara pen 19-16; 47 min C O'Mahony try, O'Gara con 19-23; 53 mins B Walsh try, O Gara con 19-30; 62 mins Corr try 24-30; 71 mins M Cunningham try 29-30; 86 mins K Lillis try 34-30.

DLSP: E Devitt; J Corr, S Stephens, D McCabe, M Cunningham; D O'Riordan, B Hogan; M Kavanagh, S O'Donnelll, N Condron, K Wheelock, R Frost, D O'Brien, B Wood, T Giles. Replace- ments: K Condren for Kavanagh (60 mins); S Sarsfield for O'Donnell (60 mins); D Maher for O'Brien (66 mins); K Lillis for Devitt (77 mins).

CORK CONSTITUTION: B Walsh; A Sherrard, A Horgan, C O'Mahony, T Kiernan; R O'Gara, B O'Meara; I Murray, F Sheahan, J O'Driscoll, M O'Driscoll, K Murphy, D O'Callaghan, J Murray, U O'Callaghan. Replacements; J Fogarty for Murphy (65 mins), D Sheehan for O'Driscoll (70 mins), D Moran for Sherrard (66 mins).

Referee: D McHugh (ARMB).