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Cork Con Quietly Confident Ahead Of League Decider

Cork Con Quietly Confident Ahead Of League Decider

As the build-up continues towards Sunday’s AIB League Division One final between Cork Constitution and Garryowen, IrishRugby.ie got the thoughts of Con director of rugby Paul Derham on the game itself and the inter-club rivalry.

PAUL DERHAM (CORK CONSTITUTION DIRECTOR OF RUGBY) –

ON SQUAD INJURIES/AVAILABILITY:


“Everybody who played in the semi-final win (over Clontarf) would seem to be fit and well for the final. We are awaiting fitness reports on Jeremy Manning at out-half and hooker Denis Fogarty.


“Unfortunately our scrum half Duncan Williams suffered a serious hamstring injury (against Dolphin recently) and will not be in contention for a place in the final.”


ON THE MOOD IN THE CAMP:

“As with many good teams in the final stages of a competition, the team or the dynamic of the team takes over in the latter stages and coaches guide and hint rather than push and change and this is exactly what has happened to this team.


“They are acutely aware that they have fallen at the final hurdle on a number of previous occasions and they have no intention of falling on this occasion. The team have been extremely focused over the last number of months in preparing itself for the play-offs.


“The leaders and motivators have come to the fore and we have been getting big game after big game from the likes of Shane O’Connor, Brendan Cuttriss and Frank Cogan in the pack and Daragh Lyons, Tom Gleeson and Cronan Healy in the back-line.


“All of the players are aware that Con had finished first in the ;eague proper on five occasions in the last seven years without winning the final and their total focus and ambition is the pocketing of the elusive AIB League winners’ medal.”


ON CON COACH BRIAN WALSH:

“What can you say about Brian Walsh and Cork Con? Since the inception of the AIB League, he has been one of the common denominators in all the club’s successes.


“As a coach he has guided Con through the troubled waters of the development of club rugby and he has overseen the many and frequent changes to the game of rugby and maintained our success.


“I believe that one of Brian’s greatest attributes is his understanding of the modern game, but in particular the understanding of the modern player. I felt it was very fitting that the IRFU should recognise his talents and appoint him as Ireland’s AIB Club international coach this year – it was an honour well deserved.”


ON FINAL OPPONENTS GARRYOWEN:

“The Cork Con-Garryowen rivalry is as intense now in the AIB League as it was in the Munster Senior Cup in the years gone by. Both clubs are very similar, they are proud and passionate about their rugby, and rivalry and competition on the field is intense.


“Both clubs have a similar ethos and that is the success of their club and the success of their players and I believe that it is this dual ethos which exists in many Munster clubs that is the reason for the continued success of Munster club rugby and ‘Team Munster.’


“I’m not certain of the statistics but I would doubt whether many teams in the Heineken Cup will have produced as many homegrown players as Munster since the inception of the competition and this production line is continuing with the likes of Keith Earls from Garryowen and our own Denis Hurley.”


ON SUNDAY’S LEAGUE DECIDER:

“I think like all the great finals between Cork Con and Garryowen, it will come down to a single score as there is nothing more than a score between these two sides.


“There have been many famous games between Cork Con and Garryown in the league, such as in the very first All-Ireland League season when Con won the game by ‘the width of a post’, Garryowen then gained revenge in Temple Hill a season later with Keith Wood and his team.


“I remember back In 1999, Con and Garryowen met in the league final at Lansdowne Road and on that occasion Con had an extremely strong team with the likes of Brian Walsh, David Corkery, Frankie Sheahan, Ronan O’Gara, John Kelly, Anthony Horgan, Donncha O’Callaghan, Brian O’Meara and John Fogarty among others, and with all this talent and ability Con only beat Garryowen by a single score.


“Garryowen had the perfect season last year winning the AIB Cup, AIB League, Munster Senior Cup and Munster Junior Cup. Con have won the Munster Junior Cup already this year and hopefully this will be Con’s year to win the AIB League. But I have no doubt Garryowen have other plans – they always do!”