Defending Division 1A champions Cork Constitution powered past local rivals UCC, on a 45-0 scoreline, to make it five wins on the trot.
ENERGIA MEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, December 4
UCC 0 CORK CONSTITUTION 45, the Mardyke
Scorers: UCC: –
Cork Constitution: Tries: Luke McAuliffe 2, Paddy Casey 2, Cathal O’Flaherty 2, Penalty try; Cons: Tomas Quinlan 4, Pen try con
HT: UCC 0 Cork Constitution 26
With their powerful lineout and scrum the ideal launchpads, Cork Con tallied up seven tries at the Mardyke as half-backs Tomas Quinlan and Duncan Williams got the best out of their dominant pack.
UCC trailed 26-0 at half-time, Billy Crowley threatening before tighthead Paddy Casey claimed the first of his two tries from close range in the 11th minute.
Constitution lorded it in the lineout early on, with David Hyland and Luke Cahill stealing two balls. UCC made their tackles and kept the visitors at arm’s length until Crowley broke out wide on the right.
The momentum surge came with the forwards picking and driving, and Casey grounded the ball from a close-in ruck after both Cathal O’Flaherty and Williams had been brought down short.
Quinlan landed the first of his four conversions, before UCC began to settle more, their lineout improving, Mark Bissessar landing a big tackle, and number 8 Jack O’Sullivan earning a turnover penalty.
Into the second quarter, strong running from Niall Kenneally and Hyland brought Con back into the red zone, but UCC managed to disrupt a subsequent maul and keep the deficit at seven points.
Con then ramped up the pressure at scrum time, winning one against the head and then a penalty in front of the posts. UCC flanker Aidan Brien was caught offside a few metres out and was sin-binned.
Brian Hickey’s men dominated the next scrum, earning a penalty try for a 14-0 lead, and Rob Jermyn missed out on a clear run-in soon after due to a forward pass from fellow winger Crowley.
A penalty for a collapsed maul quickly brought Con back within reach of the try-line, nice hands from Williams and Kenneally building pressure before Eoin Quilter put hooker Luke McAuliffe over in the left corner.
Quinlan’s classy strike from the left wing made it 21-0 and with Con continuing to wear down the overworked UCC defence, number 8 Hyland’s break had the students scrambling back towards their 22 again.
The title holders won a scrum against the head, outmuscling the seven-man pack. Controlling the ball impressively in slippery conditions, they worked numbers on the right for O’Flaherty to score.
The second row’s bonus point effort went unconverted, leaving UCC 26 points behind at the break, and McAuliffe completed his brace from a lineout drive, within two minutes of the restart.
Quinlan drained another difficult conversion from out wide, before UCC captain Rob Hedderman provided some inspiration for his team with a jinking run from a kick receipt.
UCC’s accuracy let them down with a missed touchfinder from a penalty and then a knock-on shortly afterwards, and the smart tactical kicking of Williams and Quinlan kept them pinned back.
Constitution broke up a scrappy spell with a high-quality sixth try, replacement John Poland’s kick winning the battle for territory before out-half Quinlan countered to keep the pressure on the UCC defence.
A good spread of passes across the 22 found Crowley who, in the midst of a tackle, flicked a superb offload out the back door for O’Flaherty to go over in the right corner.
Knock-ons and a couple of costly scrum penalties saw UCC lose decent positions during the closing stages, and Casey doubled his tally from a well-worked maul move.
Quinlan increased his own contribution to eight points with another well-hit conversion, and Con ended the match wither another purposeful attack from deep.
UCC: Rob Hedderman (capt); Louis Bruce, Sam Tarleton, Daniel Squires, George Coomber; Billy Kingston, Louis Kahn; Alessandro Heaney, Daniel O’Connor, Corey Hanlon, Sam O’Sullivan, Mark Bissessar, Aidan Brien, Jack Kelleher, Jack O’Sullivan.
Replacements: Billy Kingston, Tom Ormond, Patrick McBarron, John Willis, Luke Kerr, Timothy Duggan.
CORK CONSTITUTION: Johnny Murphy; Billy Crowley, Greg Higgins, Niall Kenneally, Rob Jermyn; Tomas Quinlan, Duncan Williams; Brendan Quinlan, Luke McAuliffe, Paddy Casey, Eoin Quilter, Cathal O’Flaherty, Luke Cahill, Michael Casey, David Hyland.
Replacements: Gordon Good, Dylan Murphy, James Murphy, John Beamish, John Poland, Bruce Matthews.