Ice-cool Quinlan kicks late penalty to secure Cork Con victory
Munster side beat Lansdowne to set up Ulster Bank League final showdown with Clontarf
Tomás Quinlan kicks the winning penalty for Cork Constitution in their Ulster Bank League Division 1A semi-final win over Lansdowne on Sunday. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho
Tomás Quinlan was Cork Constitution’s 14-point goal-kicking hero as they knocked table-toppers Lansdowne out of the Ulster Bank League title race yesterday.
The ice-cool Quinlan converted an 82nd-minute penalty to guide Constitution to a gripping 19-16 semi-final victory on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch, setting up a rematch with Clontarf in the stadium proper in two weeks’ time.
So often a match-winner for Con in recent seasons, the 22-year-old Quinlan’s time with the Munster Academy was shortlived – he had a year with the province in 2015/2016, after impressing for the Ireland Under-20s – but he remains arguably the best young outhalf on the domestic scene.
Young winger Mark O’Keefe’s 10th-minute try, inspired by a bullocking run from lock Stephen Gardiner, gave Mike Ruddock’s Lansdowne the early impetus.
Lansdowne were still leading by the interval, but three Quinlan penalties had the Leesiders hot on their heels at just 10-9 down. Deasy had turned a 22nd-minute scrum penalty into three points.
It was end-to-end stuff in the second half, Constitution briefly seizing control thanks to winger Liam O’Connell’s well-taken 53rd-minute try, before Deasy answered from the tee just two minutes later.
Extra-time was in the offing when Deasy found the target with a 75th-minute penalty to square things up at 16-all. Nonetheless, the hard graft of his forwards ensured that Quinlan had a one last shot at the posts and he delivered in nerveless fashion, taking his season’s haul to 180 points.
LANSDOWNE: E Mills; D McEvoy, J O’Donnell, M Roche, M O’Keefe; S Deasy, M D’Arcy; J Walshe, T McElroy, I Prendiville (capt), O Dowling, S Gardiner, J McSwiney, C Butterworth, P Boyle. Replacements: T Moran, N Mpiko, J O’Rourke, B Fitzpatrick, A Bennie, F Cleary, F Horan.
CORK CONSTITUTION: S Daly; LO’Connell, N Hodson, N Kenneally (capt), R Jermyn; T Quinlan, J Higgins; L O’Connor, V O’Brien, R Burke, B Hayes, C Kindregan, G Lawler, J Murphy, L Cahill. Replacements: G Duffy, G Sweeney, S O’Leary, R O’Neill, J Poland, JJ O’Neill, C Brady.
Referee: Stuart Gaffikin (IRFU)