CORK CONSTITUTION 15 GARRYOWEN 11, Dubarry Park
Scorers: Cork Constitution: Tries: Richie Lane, Daragh Lyons; Con: Scott Deasy; Pen: Scott Deasy
Garryowen: Try: Mike Sherry; Pens: Conor Murray 2
Out-half Daragh Lyons danced his way over the try-line in the 70th minute to help 14-man Cork Constitution battle their way to the AIB Cup title, beating Garryowen in a real arm wrestle of a final at Dubarry Park.
Lyons showed superb footwork and attacking skill to fend off three Garryowen defenders before diving over to the left of the posts, with full-back Scott Deasy's successful conversion moving Constitution 12-11 ahead.
Garryowen manfully tried to mount a fightback but they were out on their feet and Deasy's 80th minute penalty confirmed the result as the Cork side put the demons of last year's shock final defeat to Ballynahinch behind them.
Inaugural winners of this All-Ireland competition in 2006, the Leesiders had to fight all their way for this latest cup success after young second row Ian Nagle was sent-off shortly before half-time.
Defending a ruck close to his own try-line, Nagle was seen lashing out with a number of punches as he tangled with a Garryowen player at the edge of the ruck.
Touch judge David Keane gave the recommendation of a red card to referee Alain Rolland and the former Ireland underage international was dispatched to the stand.
The dismissal came at a vital stage as Nagle's side, off that very same attack, had failed to keep Garryowen out. Hooker Mike Sherry burrowed his way over in the left corner to hand the Limerick men an 11-5 half-time lead.
In front of a 2,000-strong crowd, Cork Con started strongly and with scrum half Duncan Williams, winger Cronan Healy and captain Evan Ryan stretching their legs early on, Garryowen were kept on the defensive.
Indeed, from a 14th minute overlap on the left, Brian Walsh's men made huge gains, punching their way into the Garryowen 22 and Munster's Billy Holland was held up close to the line before Deasy swung a long pass out for winger Richie Lane to go over unchallenged for the opening try.
Deasy's conversion attempt was off target though and the recent Magners League debutant also missed a kickable penalty early on. The danger for a dominant Constitution was that they would not transfer their pressure into points and so it proved as the first half wore on.
Ryan and his team-mates were guilty of overcomplicating things and they played too much rugby in their own half, allowing Garryowen's grizzled pack to make the tackles and maintain a good slice of territory.