9 Dec, 11:09
Munster Rugby Coach Development Department hosted an IRFU Leprechaun Rugby Course at CIT on Friday last.
Eight of the squad that were in last season’s team that lost the final to Cashel made amends for that defeat. Con’ were the hungrier side for victory and fought for every ball both in the tight and open play and this meant they dominated the exchanges for long periods.
The Skibbereen pack posed problems for the Temple Hill side in the opening scrums but gradually Con’ came to grip with these issues and held their own in the forward exchanges where Alan Ross, Yasin Browne and Andy White played their part. Scrum half Alex Ryan also put in a fine performance.
Skibbereen failed to impose their will on their game and poor tackling at times and numerous knock ons did not help their cause.
Having survived the initial onslaught from the kickoff by Skibbereen, Con’s first attack after ten minutes proved to be the turning point of the game. After several drives at the Skibb’ line, the ball was let out to the backs and out half Sean Óg Murphy found a gap to score and he also converted.
Con’ kept Skibb’ on the back foot as play was mostly between both Twenty Twos.
On thirty two minutes Con’ skipper Peter O’Sullivan was shown a yellow card and from the resulting penalty kick David Shannon opened Skibbereen’s account with an effort from forty five meters.
Skibbereen scrum half John O’Sullivan nearly got in for a try when he went the blind side from a scrum only to be bundled into touch by the covering Con’ defence.
The introduction of Sean O’Neill made a big difference to the west Cork side just before half time. With Con’ pressing at the start of the second half he gathered the ball inside his own Twenty Two ran fifty meters before kicking the ball up to the Con’ goal line.
David Shannon was off target with a penalty effort from pressure by the Skibbereen pack after this clearance.
Sean Óg Murphy came to Con’s aid as he kicked two penalties to extend his side’s advantage to 13-3 with twenty minutes remaining.
It looked like that Con’ would press home their advantage but Skibbereen showed great spirit as they raised their game and sixteen minutes from time they got their reward when after several drives by the pack at the Con’ line, Sean O’Neill barged over and Shannon converted to leave three between them.
Murphy was off target with a long range penalty effort shortly after but the experience of the Con’ side showed as they pined Skibbereen back in their own half for the remainder of the match and held out to bring the famous trophy back to Temple Hill for another year.
Scorers Cork Constitution: Sean Óg Murphy try, con, 2 pens.
Skibbereen: Sean O’Neill try, David Shannon con, pen.
Cork Constitution: Danny O’Shea; Eoin O’Donnell, Conor Desmond, Peter O’Sullivan (capt), Shane Kelly; Sean Óg Murphy, Alex Ryan; Gareth Murray, Kieran Stokes, Ryan Hassan; David O’Brien, Yasin Browne; Brian Vaughan, Andy White, Alan Ross.
Replacements used: Chris Corkery, Bryan Cagney, Ronan Gee, Matt Ross, Andrieu Kelleher.
Skibbereen: David Shannon; Mike Limerick, David O’Keeffe, Niall Hurley, Alan Dodd; Peter Mihaere, John O’Sullivan; Peter Stout, Dave Jennings, Vincent White; Colm Hurley (capt), Mike Calnan; Ian Hurley, Declan Coppinger, Kieran Shannon. Replacements used: Denis McCarthy, Sean O’Neill, Brendan O’Donovan, Ger Hurley, Ivan Jennings. .
Referee: Kieran Barry (M.A.R.)