HEINEKEN MUNSTER JUNIOR CUP FINAL
Cork Constitution 17 UCC 5
Cork Constitution collected their 16th Munster Junior Cup title with a 17-5 win over UCC in Musgrave Park on Sunday, reclaiming the title they last won in 2003 and putting an end to UCC s hopes of their first Junior Cup title since 1979. The game was focused on the battle upfront for much of the contest, with Constitution s tight defence hampering UCC s progress and smothering their scoring chances.
In the opening minutes, both kickers missed an opportunity each to take the lead from penalties awarded. For Constitution, the kick from outhalf Darragh Lyons hit the posts, while UCC s Gareth Williams effort fell short. However, it wasn t long before Constitution notched up points when a superb back line move set up winger Alistair Ross in the corner, who broke through a number of tackles to cross the line after 9 minutes. Darragh Lyons converted to give Cork Constitution a 7-0 lead. UCC came back with a period of good possession, keeping play well inside the Constitution half. Centres Peter Murphy and Dermot O Kane continued to threaten, however, UCC were unable to turn possession into points on the board with Constitution s defence holding solid. With some great work being done in the line out by Constitution s JJ Cahill and Emmett Cassidy, UCC had some difficulty in getting clean possession. Gareth Williams missed an opportunity to reduce the deficit after 27 minutes when a kick at goal steered wide of the posts. Much of the play was kept within the packs, with hard tackled from both sides, and a tight contest at the breakdown.
After the restart, both teams were reduced to 14 men in the opening minutes, with UCC s Jim Mackessy first to go into the bin and Darragh Lyons converting the ensuing penalty to stretch their lead. Seconds later Constitution s prop Jody Danagher was binned. Constitution were awarded another penalty after 48 minutes, with the ball not finding its target. In the 51st minute, Frank Cogan stormed over the line for Constitution, with Lyons on target to give them a 17-0 lead. UCC had a terrific opportunity to score after 56 minutes with an overlap on the wing, however, the ball spilled and Constitution cleared their lines. UCC s backline looked dangerous in attack, but a tendency to get isolated lost them possession on a number of occasions. UCC s out half Gareth Williams missed a penalty after 61 minutes. His opposite number had a shot at a drop goal shortly after, but it too was not on target. A break by hooker Denis Fogarty saw Constitution coming close to adding another try, but the offload to winger Rory Collins fell short. Constitution s captain and full back Dave O Brien had a drop goal attempt after 70 minutes, but he steered it left of the posts. Elsewhere on the field, UCC s backrow of Michael Essex, Jonathon Harte and Billy Holland put in a tremendous effort, but faced fierce opposition from a strong Constitution pack. Wing forward for Cork Constitution Landy Hill was superb throughout, and went on to earn himself the Man of the Match title. UCC attempted to finish with a flourish, with UCC prop Fergus Gately going over for a try in the 80th minute after a break from Dave O Leary at scrum half. The last few minutes of the game were frantic, with UCC pressing hard for the line; however, it wasn t enough to deny Cork Constitution a comfortable victory and their 16th Munster Junior Cup title.
Cork Constitution Team: 15. Dave O Brien, 14. Alistair Ross, 13. Niall Kenneally, 12. Joe Cullen, 11. Rory Collins, 10. Darragh Lyons, 1. Jody Danagher, 2. Denis Fogarty, 3. Mark Daunt, 4. Emmett Cassidy, 5. JJ Cahill, 6. Ian Doyle, 7. Landy Hill, 8. Frank Cogan Subs: CC Alex Ryan on for Niall Kenneally, Frank Quinlan for Ian Doyle, Dave Foley for Mark Daunt, Harry Casey for Joe Cullen, Brian Murphy for Landy Hill
UCC Team: 15. Ed Mills, 14. Colin Murphy, 13. Dermot O Kane, 12. Peter Murphy, 11. Daire Fitzgerald, 10. Gareth Williams, 1. Fergus Gately, 2. Kieran Murray, 3. Jim Mackessy, 4. Dave Harty, 5. Chris Kennefick, 6. Billy Holland, 7. Mike Essex, 8. Jonathon Harte Subs: UCC Tom Mullane for Peter Murphy, Matt Moran for Ed Mills, Brian Curtin for Kieran Murphy, Ben Nagle for Jonathon Harte
Referee: Peter Roche
The Path to the Final:
Cork Constitution FC: Rd 1 Cobh Pirates 22-3 Rd 2 Ballincollig 22-6 Rd 3 Thomond 8-3 QF Garryowen 23-13 aet SF Crosshaven 15-9
UCC RFC: Rd 1 Dungarvan 102-0 Rd 2 Midleton 23-6 Rd 3 Skibbereen 29-20 QF Kilfeacle 27-22 SF Nenagh Ormond 28-21