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Report | Cork Con Regain BOI Munster Senior Challenge Cup

6th January 2019 By The Editor

Cork Con Captain, Niall Kenneally, lifts the Munster Senior Challenge Cup.

Cork Con Captain, Niall Kenneally, lifts the Munster Senior Challenge Cup. INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Cork Constitution FC regained the Bank of Ireland Munster Senior Challenge Cup with a 26-23 victory over Garryowen FC in the 128th final of the competition at Thomond Park on Saturday afternoon.

The Leesiders outscored the defending champions in the first-half with two tries and a penalty, courtesy of Joe McSwiney, Sean French, and the boot of Aidan Moynihan, despite Garryowen’s Ben Healy converting all three of his penalty opportunities.

The ‘Light Blues,’ in search of their 40th Senior Challenge Cup title, took an early lead after the interval through a Cian O’Shea try before Cork Con reclaimed the lead with McSwiney’s second and a Moynihan penalty.

Munster Academy back Liam Coombes secured a last gasp try for Garryowen, converted by Healy, but it was all too late as Cork Con went on to lift the prestigious club silverware for the 29th time having last won it in 2017.

Garryowen who featured Munster players, scrum-half Neil Cronin and flanker Conor Oliver in their starting side, capitalised on an early opportunity with Munster Academy out-half Healy striking a penalty in the third minute.

Cork Con responded moments later and after gaining territory in the 22 following a penalty kick downfield, flanker McSwiney barged over from close range before Moynihan’s conversion attempt hit the post.

Winger French, one of nine Munster Academy members who featured across both squads, then made a powerful run down the right flank to dot down in the corner for the Temple Hill side.

On the 20-minute mark, Healy sent his second penalty attempt over with Garryowen edging closer to the leaders, 6-10.

Minutes laters, Healy was presented with another three-point opportunity which he converted to go within a point of Cork Con.

Garryowen appeared to have gained momentum through the boot of Healy but it was the Leesiders who hit back with a Moynihan penalty to push out in front once again.

Con’s number 8, Luke Cahill, then saw yellow before the break with the Cork side reduced to 14 men.

Garryowen attempted to capitalise in the closing stages of the first-half but with a passage of play resulting in a knock on, Cork Con reclaimed possession and fired the ball into touch.

Half-time: Garryowen 9-13 Cork Constitution

Minutes after the break, Garryowen took advantage of a loose pass from the Cork Con back-line with Cian O’Shea kicking the ball through and getting the better of Moynihan to touch down under the posts.

Healy stepped up to add the extras and Garryowen fired themselves into a narrow lead.

It wasn’t long before Cork Con reacted with Moynihan taking full advantage of a penalty after 54 minutes to level the scores.

McSwiney then secured his brace following patient work by the forwards in the 22, the flanker went over from close range once again before Moynihan’s conversion settled the score in 23-16 favour of Con.

The All Ireland League Division 1A leaders pushed further in front through the boot of Moynihan who landed another successful penalty in the 70th minute.

Garryowen continued to threaten deep into injury time, eventually finding space out wide as Coombes collected a launched pass to cross in the right corner before Healy added an impressive conversion.

It was to be Cork Con’s day at Thomond Park with the whistle signalling a victorious Senior Challenge Cup campaign for the Temple Hill side.

Full-time: Garryowen 23-26 Cork Constitution

Garryowen: David McCarthy; Liam Coombes, Matt More, Peader Collins, Cian O’Shea; Ben Healy, Neil Cronin; Niall Horan, Diarmuid Barron, Andrew Keating; Kevin Seymour, Dean Moore (C); Sean O’Connor, Jack Daly, Conor Oliver.

Replacements: Liam Cronin, Ben Rowley, Sean Rennison, Rob Guerin, Jamie Gavin, Timothy Ferguson, Andrew O’Byrne.

Cork Constitution: Liam O’Connell; Sean French, Alex McHenry, Niall Kenneally (C), Rob Jermyn; Aidan Moynihan, Jason Higgins; Gavin Duffy, Vincent O’Brien, Patrick Casey; Conor Kindregan, Brian Hayes; Joe McSwiney, Kevin Sheahan, Luke Cahill.

Replacements: Liam O’Connor, Greg Roche, Evan Mintern, Ross O’Neill, Richard Cassidy, Jonathan Wren, Greg Higgins.

Referee: Robert O’Sullivan (MAR)


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