Lansdowne 24 Cork Constitution 10
Defending Ulster Bank League champions Cork Constitution suffered their second defeat of the new season as Lansdowne's Scott Deasy came back to haunt his former club on Sunday afternoon.
The experienced outhalf was a Con player up until his departure from Munster in 2013, and his 19-point haul proved decisive for Mike Ruddock’s charges as they stayed within two points of Division 1A leaders Terenure College at the summit.
Deasy broke the deadlock on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch with a fifth-minute penalty from 35 metres out, and he doubled the lead with another three-pointer at the end of the first quarter. However, Con were starting to bring their backs into play and they opened their account in spectacular style on 21 minutes.
Skipper Niall Kenneally and fullback Shane Daly, who was back from Ireland Sevens duty, helped to spread the ball out wide to left winger Ned Hodson, who used a burst of pace to cross the whitewash for an unconverted try. Now only a point behind, Con had to defend closing in on half-time and Lansdowne duly made the pressure count.
After he picked up possession on the left, Lansdowne centre Fergal Cleary drove over the line in clinical fashion. Deasy's conversion was wide of the mark, but with Con hooker Kevin O'Byrne joined by his team-mate Graeme Lawler in the sin-bin, Deasy's late penalty handed the home side a 14-5 lead.
Although Lansdowne dominated possession for the majority of the third quarter, the visitors managed to hold firm under severe pressure. Indeed, after Con outhalf Tomás Quinlan opted for touch just past the hour, O’Byrne brilliantly spun away from a lineout maul to crash over in the right corner. Quinlan was narrowly wide with his conversion attempt.
Nonetheless, following some hesitancy by the Con defence 12 minutes from time, Deasy added his fourth penalty of the afternoon from close range. This opened up a seven-point advantage before a Deasy try in the 77th minute ensured that Lansdowne maintained their unbeaten start to the new league campaign.
Brian Hickey’s men, who had won on their two most recent visits to the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch, did push for a losing bonus point in the closing stages, but they were unable to deliver and their second defeat has dropped them down to fifth place.
LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills; Daniel McEvoy, Ian Fitzpatrick, Fergal Cleary, Foster Horan; Scott Deasy, Alan Bennie; Peter Dooley, Tyrone Moran, Ian Prendiville (capt); Oisin Dowling, Josh O'Rourke; Jack Dwan, Charlie Butterworth, Willie Earle.
Replacements: Jack Dinneen, Ntinga Mpiko, Jack O'Sullivan, Charlie Rock, Harry Brennan.
CORK CONSTITUTION: Shane Daly; Liam O'Connell, Alex McHenry, Niall Kenneally (capt), Ned Hodson; Tomás Quinlan, Jason Higgins; Brendan Quinlan, Kevin O'Byrne, Ger Sweeney; Brian Hayes, Conor Kindregan; Evan Mintern, Graeme Lawler, Luke Cahill.
Replacements: Vincent O'Brien, Gavin Duffy, Sean Duffy, Aidan Moynihan, Rob Jermyn.