Cork Constitution captain Aidan Moynihan showed his class with a 16-point haul in their 36-25 bonus point win over Lansdowne in Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 1A.
ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE MEN’S DIVISION 1A: Saturday, November 12
CORK CONSTITUTION 36 LANSDOWNE 25, Temple Hill
Scorers: Cork Constitution: Tries: Aidan Moynihan, George Coomber, Luke Kerr, Alessandro Heaney, Jack Kelleher; Cons: Aidan Moynihan 4; Pen: Aidan Moynihan
Lansdowne: Tries: Conor McMenamin, Michael Silvester, Darragh Murphy, Sean Galvin; Con: Peter Hastie; Pen: Peter Hastie
HT: Cork Constitution 19 Lansdowne 15
After a testing start to the season, Jonny Holland’s Cork Con have strung together four victories on the trot. A third of the way into the campaign, they are fourth in the table, a full nine points clear of their nearest rivals.
Lansdowne, on the other hand, are struggling for results despite being competitive for long spells. Their fifth defeat in six games has them eighth overall, although they did pick up a try-scoring bonus point at Temple Hill.
Mark McHugh’s men were only 19-15 behind at half-time, but came under immediate pressure from an eager Con outfit with former skipper Niall Kenneally and George Coomber linking up well to spark a pacy counter attack.
Michael Silvester had to put in an early try-saving tackle on Daniel Hurley, with Con continuing to force the issue until Moynihan opened the scoring on the 10-minute mark.
A scrum penalty and a strong series of pick-and-drives got them into range, and Hurley was crowded out before Moynihan brilliantly squeezed over in the right corner past Sean Galvin and Silvester. He then tucked away the touchline conversion.
Barely two minutes later, Lansdowne winger Peter Sullivan intercepted a loose pass to send Galvin darting down the left touchline and he fed Silvester to score despite Coomber’s scrambling tackle.
Peter Hastie landed a well-struck conversion and added a 18th-minute penalty to give the visitors a 10-7 lead. A Connor O’Sullivan turnover, allied to a subsequent penalty, saw Lansdowne’s defence hold firm as Con tried to respond.
The Leesiders regained the lead on the half hour mark, lifting the tempo in attack with Kenneally’s nicely-delayed pass releasing Billy Crowley up into the Lansdowne 22. Jack Kelleher then broke a tackle from Tadgh McElroy to raid over from 15 metres out.
After Hastie missed a central penalty, the sides swapped late tries with Donegal man Conor McMenamin muscling over for Lansdowne, and then Con replacement Luke Kerr charging down a Jack Matthews kick to score in the left corner.
Moynihan’s conversion gave the hosts a four-point buffer, yet Lansdowne made sure they had the better of the third quarter as they edged their way back in front in the 50th minute.
A defence-slashing break involving Galvin and Cillian Redmond was the highlight before number 8 Darragh Murphy burrowed over from a metre out. It was 20-19 until a crisp long-range penalty from Moynihan in the 57th minute.
Lansdowne replacement James Doyle sent a penalty wide from distance, following good work from the visitors’ scrum. The Con set piece then gained the upper hand to give them crucial field position entering the final quarter of an hour.
Kenneally carried strongly in the 70th minute, bringing his side back to the edge of the Lansdowne 22. Moynihan managed to put Andrew Treacy through a gap and he had replacement Alessandro Heaney up on his shoulder to slide over beside the posts.
Moynihan converted the bonus point score to make it 29-20 and Con sealed the result just three minutes later, their captain adding the extras to full-back Coomber’s 40-metre run-in for the try of the day.
Playing with a penalty advantage, long passes from Kerr, Moynihan and Bruce Matthews released replacement Mark Stafford into space. He drew in a defender and put Coomber haring clear of his chasers for a smashing score that suddenly made it a 16-point margin.
Credit to Lansdowne, they regrouped quickly and made sure they took something out of the game. Murphy threatened from his own quick tap and kick through, hounding Eoin Quilter into a loose kick and the visitors worked the ball wide for Galvin to dot down.
CORK CONSTITUTION: George Coomber; Daniel Hurley, Greg Higgins, Niall Kenneally, Billy Crowley; Aidan Moynihan (capt), Louis Kahn; Brendan Quinlan, Billy Scannell, Luke Masters, Andrew Treacy, Eoin Quilter, Jack Kelleher, James Murphy, David Hyland.
Replacements: Tadgh McCarthy, Alessandro Heaney, Anthony Ryan, Mark Stafford, Luke Kerr, Bruce Matthews.
LANSDOWNE: Michael Silvester; Peter Sullivan, Cillian Redmond, Connor O’Sullivan, Sean Galvin; Peter Hastie, Jack Matthews; Ben Popplewell, Tadgh McElroy, Temi Lasisi, Conor McMenamin, Arthur Greene, Clive Ross (capt), Joey Szpara, Darragh Murphy.
Replacements: Jamie Kavanagh, Conan Dunne, Dan Murphy, James Doyle, Mike Walsh, Conall Doherty.