Cork Constitution got a fright before winning the ODM Munster Senior Cup for the first time in 20 years when they outgunned Old Crescent in an entertaining final at Tom Clifford Park on Sunday.
ODM MUNSTER SENIOR CUP FINAL: Sunday, January 4
OLD CRESCENT 13 CORK CONSTITUTION 21, Tom Clifford Park
Scorers: Old Crescent: Try: Pat Humphries; Con: Mark Woods; Pens: Mark Woods 2
Cork Constitution: Tries: Tom Gleeson, Cronan Healy; Con: Richie Lane; Pens: Richie Lane 3
Old Crescent, with Munster prop Federico Pucciariello their stand-in coach, have never won the cup and when beaten in their only previous final 46 years ago, they were captained by Billy Leahy whose son of the same name skippered the team for Sunday’s decider.
Cork Constitution, and Munster, suffered a blow when Jeremy Manning had to retire injured midway through the first half as the Cork side got off to a dream start with a second minute try by Tom Gleeson.
This unsettled the underdogs who fell further behind when Richie Lane landed a penalty.
That came after 20 minutes and five minutes later Mark Woods was on target with a penalty for Old Crescent.
Suitably inspired, the Limerick side had a try on the half hour mark by experienced hooker Pat Humphries which Woods converted to generate a feeling of an upset.
On the stroke of half-time, Lane landed another Con penalty and Old Crescent suffered a double whammy when back rower Juan Pablo Ruiz was sin-binned.
Another penalty by Woods again gave Crescent hope but they then leaked a well-taken Cronan Healy try which Lane converted and he also landed a penalty ten minutes from the end to wrap it up for Cork Con.
Speaking afterwards to the Irish Examiner, Cork Con coach Brian Walsh said: “There was huge physicality in the game and a lot of good rugby and I felt the skill levels were good, given the high levels of passion and enthusiasm
“We have been telling the younger players how hard it is to win a cup and they know that now after wins over UL Bohs, UCC, Shannon, Garryowen and now Old Crescent.”