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Season’s Round-Up: Cork Constitution

Season’s Round-Up: Cork Constitution

Did you know that a current German international made his AIB League debut for Division One semi-finalists Cork Constitution last December?

…Cork Con centre Tom Gleeson in action during the recent AIB Cup final…

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* Former Ireland hooker and captain Terry Kingston transferred over from UCC to assist Brian Walsh with coaching duties this season. Some notable player acquisitions included Conor Quaid, the ex-Highfield centre and out-half, who has scored 72 League points, and Munster-capped scrum half Frank Murphy and former Ireland Under-21 full back/winger Richard Lane were also brought across from UCC.

* A member of the Irish U-21 team that reached the World Cup final in 2004, Richard Lane has been Con’s top try scorer this season – notching 8 in the League and 6 (4 against Belfast Harlequins and 2 against Buccaneers) in the inaugural AIB Cup competition.

* Con are eyeing up a unique ‘double’ after their 37-12 AIB Cup final defeat of St. Mary’s at Lansdowne Road last month. Bald-topped winger Cronan Healy scorched over for four tries against Mary’s – he has also nabbed 8 tries in the League proper.

* Tragedy struck the club just two weeks (March 22) before the Cup final when centre and vice-captain Conrad O’Sullivan passed away suddenly. Described by Brian Walsh as “the heartbeat of what we are trying to achieve at Cork Con. He is what we are about,” O’Sullivan, who died aged just 25, was capped by Munster previously and in his honour, the province held a minute’s silence before their Heineken Cup quarter-final with Perpignan at Lansdowne Road last month.

* In October, Con lined out with eight players new to Division One rugby in their first League game of the season against UL Bohemians. The Temple Hill outfit are captained this season by former Ireland Under-19 flanker Frank Cogan, whose brother Rory plays for Highfield.

…Con centre Andrew O’Brien v Shannon in the AIB Cup last December…

* Con retained the Cork Charity Cup in November, beating Dolphin by 27-14 at Temple Hill for their 38th title. That same month, Garryowen beat Brian Walsh’s side in the quarter-finals of the ODM Munster Senior Cup. Con’s three League defeats came against the three other Division One semi-finalists – Clontarf (23-16), Shannon (16-11) and Garryowen (28-17).

* Saturday will be Con’s third AIB League semi-final appearance in five seasons – they beat Buccaneers 20-6 on the way to the 2003/04 final, which they lost to Shannon. A 43-17 semi-final victory over Garryowen saw Con secure a final place in 2001/02 – but Shannon were once again on top in the decider.

* Con won the All-Ireland League title in 1990/91 and in 1998/99, when Munster out-half Ronan O’Gara kicked an extra-time penalty for a 14-11 success against Garryowen at Lansdowne Road. Munster winger Anthony Horgan, who played in last month’s AIB Cup final, is a surviving member from the ’99 Con team.

* Walsh’s current charges amassed an impressive try tally of 51 in the League proper. Against that, they conceded 21 – 8 before Christmas, and 13 after. Con held both Blackrock College and UCD to a ‘nil’ score line.

* German international lock Bodo Sieber made his AIB League debut when coming on as a second half substitute in Con’s 33-23 victory at Lansdowne in December. Sieber is a regular starter for the club’s J1 team.