CORK CONSTITUTION 15 UL BOHEMIANS 14, the Mardyke
Scorers: Cork Constitution: Tries: Niall O'Driscoll 2; Con: Johnny Holland; Pen: Johnny Holland
UL Bohemians: Tries: Mossy Lawler, Darren Moroney; Cons: Ben Martin 2
In a dramatic finish, Cork Constitution snatched a one-point victory over UL Bohemians at the Mardyke with a try in the final play of the game.
It was heartbreak for UL Bohemians as they were hoping to end a 50-year gap since their last success in this great cup competition.
But the never-say-die attitude of this Constitution side yet again shone through when a try by winger Niall O’Driscoll in the sixth minute of injury-time earned the club their 24th success in the final of the ODM Munster Senior Cup.
The final returned to the Mardyke for the first time in 50 years and it was a battle of the packs from start to finish as both sides went at it to gain supremacy up front.
It was fitting that Niall O’Driscoll should score both Constitution tries as his father, a former President of the Munster Branch, has been sponsoring the competition under the ODM Financial banner.
It was the Limerick side who made the better start when a pass by scrum half Cathal Sheridan sent Mossy Lawler in for a try which Ben Martin converted for a 7-0 lead after just four minutes.
Constitution came storming back from the restart and a chip ahead by Robert Clune saw Bohs full-back David Johnson beat him to the touch down. Graeme Lawlor knocked on for Cork Con close to the Bohs line but gallant defending kept the UL line intact.
Skipper Ed Kelly led by example for Bohemians and his second row partner Darragh Frawley dominated the lineouts, winning several Constitution throw-ins.
Slowly but surely, Constitution had Bohs on the back foot and they were rewarded with a try by O’Driscoll eight minutes before the break. Johnny Holland, who has been in a rich vein of form lately, converted to bring his side level.
Conor Kindregan was shown a yellow card right on the stroke of half-time as tempers flared and the Temple Hill outfit took full advantage of their numerical superiority. Holland landed a penalty two minutes into the second half from 40 metres out.
Once Bohs got back to their full complement, they took the game to Cork Con again. However, several drives at the Constitution line were contained by Brian Walsh's men.
Eventually the pressure exerted by Bohs was rewarded when the ball was spread wide for winger Darren Moroney to score and Martin converted for a 14-10 lead.
With time running out, Munster's Scott Deasy broke from inside his own 22 and play was brought up to the Bohs line.
After several scrums, Bohs looked like they would hold out, but one last desperate effort by the Corkmen saw Ivan Dineen make a break for the line and he sent O’Driscoll in at the corner much to the delight of the jubilant Constitution supporters.
Holland’s conversion attempt came back off the upright, but it did not matter as the final whistle sounded to end yet another exciting chapter in Munster Senior Cup history.
Victors Cork Con will move on as Munster's representatives in the Ulster Bank Bateman Cup, playing away to the Ulster Senior Cup winners in January.
CORK CONSTITUTION: Darragh Lyons; Robert Clune, Ivan Dineen, Scott Deasy, Niall O’Driscoll; Johnny Holland, Gerry Hurley (capt); Bryan Cagney, Andrew O’Driscoll, John Ryan, Brian Hayes, Philip Donnellan, Brendan Cuttriss, Graeme Lawlor, James Ryan.
Replacements: Pat Galvin, Andrew Cudmore, Cathal O’Flaherty, Brian O’Hara, Conor Desmond, Pat Parfrey, Cathal Quinn.
UL BOHEMIANS: David Johnson; Darren Moroney, Mossy Lawler, Niall Kenneally, Rory White; Ben Martin, Cathal Sheridan; Tom Burke, Eddie Rossiter, Gary Walsh, Ed Kelly (capt), Darragh Frawley, Conor Kindregan, Ian Condell, Jack O’Donoghue.
Replacements: Alex Simpson, Johnny Sutton, Rory Cunningham, Sean Rennison, Keith McManus, Tim Rafferty, Finbar Ryan.
Referee: Eddie Hogan O’Connell (Munster)