...Leaping captain Frank Cogan celebrates with his team-mates after Cork Con's victory in last April's AIB Cup final...
CON THROUGH TO MUNSTER CUP SEMIS: Cork Constitution added to their reputation as cup specialists as they beat Shannon, the title holders, in Sunday's ODM Munster Senior Cup quarter-final at Thomond Park.
It was a big breakthrough for Con, last season's inaugural AIB Cup champions. Shannon are the reigning AIB League Division One champions and won the Munster Senior Cup for the seventh successive time last season.
Brian Walsh's Con side grabbed a 16-12 victory to set up a semi-final showdown with Division Two team Clonakilty (date to be confirmed). The result marked Shannon's second defeat in the space of eight days - they lost to Garryowen in their most recent AIB League game.
Con full-back Richard Lane kicked a 17th-minute penalty to nudge the Leesiders in front. Two minutes later, flanker Merle O'Connell intercepted an Andrew Thompson pass, which was intended for John Clogan, and raced in for a try which Lane added the extras to.
Further penalties from the boot of Lane on 22 minutes and in the first minute of injury-time handed Con, who have not won the Munster Senior Cup since 1989, a 16-0 buffer at the break.
Nine minutes after the resumption, a livelier Shannon began to eat into Con's lead with Donnacha Ryan, playing as an openside flanker, streaking through for a try after a neat pop pass from Frankie McNamara. Thompson, who had missed a first half penalty, converted and a 53rd-minute try from replacement Mossie Lawlor, who excelled in broken play in the second half, in the right corner had Shannon just four points behind.
Thompson's conversion sailed wide and unfortunately for the Laois man, he was also off target with a 70th-minute penalty. Shannon mounted a thunderous late charge but Con's defence was resolute and they marched on into the last-four.
Garryowen, with 35 Cup wins, are to meet Division Three side Nenagh Ormond in the other semi-final, which is down for decision this Saturday at Tom Clifford Park (kick-off 2.30pm).
'WEGIANS OFF TO THE DOGS AGAIN!: The annual Galwegians RFC Dog Night will take place on Saturday week (November 25) with the Polo Gallery to be the title sponsor of this year's event at the Sportsground. 'Wegians President Danno Heaslip accepted a sponsorship cheque from the Gallery's proprietor Enda Cantrell recently.
The Dog Night helps raise funds for the club which runs seventeen teams from Under-7 to senior level. Commenting on the sponsorship, Cantrell said: "Polo are delighted to have the opportunity to support a club that has such a positive impact on Galway city and county."
There are a few corporate packages still available that offer great value for money, with many companies using this great evening as their Christmas party venue. General admission tickets and Dog Nomination options, which this year carries a main prize of 3,300, are also still available through club representatives.
For enquiries and any race day information, please call Matt Mostyn on tel: 0863803332. For any informations about Galwegians RFC, please contact Breda Leader on tel: 0872031531.
COOLMINE GET DOWN TO BUSINESS: Leinster League Division 2 club Coolmine RFC will hold its annual Business Luncheon this Friday at the Dunboyne Castle Hotel. The afternoon begins with a pre-lunch drinks reception from 1pm to 2pm, followed by a lunch with guest speakers Neil Francis, the former Ireland lock who writes for the Sunday Tribune, and Gerry Murphy, the former Ireland coach who is now with Leinster.
A limited number of tickets are still available - 1,500 for a table of ten. Please contact Gordon Wood for bookings on tel: 0862546490.
...Belfast Harlequins full-back Mark Kettyle on the attack...
ULSTER CUP DRAW MADE: Defending champions Belfast Harlequins have received a bye into the second round of the First Trust Ulster Senior Cup. Out of the province's big three clubs, only Dungannon, the 2002 champions, will be pressed into first roudn action.
The Tyrone men have been drawn to play Ards at Stevenson Park, with all first round ties to take place on or before Saturday, November 25.
The rest of the first round encounters are all AIB League Division Three derbies - Instonians are at home to Portadown, Banbridge will entertain Queen's University while Rainey Old Boys have been handed a trip to City of Derry.
Other clubs to receive byes were Malone, who lost last year's final 36-9 to 'Quins, and 2002 runners-up Ballynahinch.
First Round Draw - Instonians v Portadown, Banbridge v Queen's University, City of Derry v Rainey Old Boys and Dungannon v Ards; Byes: Ballymena, Ballynahinch, Belfast Harlequins and Malone
'QUINS REMAIN TOP OF ULSTER LEAGUE: Belfast Harlequins remain two points clear of Ballymena after the latest round of action in the First Trust Ulster Senior League. Andy Ward's 'Quins are top of the table on 16 points with the Braidmen on 14.
'Quins grabbed tries from Mark Kettyle, Rob Devonshire and Gareth Rourke with Keith Pyper (conversion) and Niall O'Connor (penalty) kicking five points between them as they accounted for City of Derry. The visitors triumphed 22-7 at Judge's Road.
Second-placed Ballymena edged out Malone 21-14 at Gibson Park - tries from Craig Woods and Peter Steincamp and 11 points from the boot of Dirkie Strydom saw the Braidmen do the business.
Dungannon are almost certainly out of the running for the title after they went down 19-5 to Banbridge. Bann secured their first ever win over Dungannon thanks to 14 points from the boot of scrum half Neville Farr and a late try from Simon McKinstry.
Elsewhere, Queen's beat Rainey Old Boys 14-0, Ballynahinch defeated Instonians 18-16 while tries from Norman Parson and Dave Manning helped Ards score an 18-10 win at Chambers Park.