Terenure College suffered their first home defeat in the Energia All-Ireland League since last January as a two-try first half salvo steered Cork Constitution to a dogged 20-0 win at Lakelands Park.
ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE MEN’S DIVISION 1A:
Saturday, October 21 –
TERENURE COLLEGE 0 CORK CONSTITUTION 20, Lakelands Park
Scorers: Terenure College: –
Cork Constitution: Tries: Billy Scannell, Daniel Hurley; Cons: James Taylor 2; Pens: James Taylor 2
HT: Terenure College 0 Cork Constitution 20
Jonny Holland’s men had the backing of a strong wind during the first half, and James Taylor landed two initial penalties and converted tries from Billy Scannell (23 minutes) and Daniel Hurley (38) to establish a 20-0 half-time lead.
Cork Con’s robust defence continued to frustrate Terenure College, with the back row of Jack Kelleher, Ronan O’Sullivan and captain David Hyland particularly impressive in terms of winning turnovers and putting pressure on at lineout time.
Con did lose out-half Taylor to a yellow card, while Terenure replacement prop Ben Howard was also sin-binned as the reigning champions battled furiously to try and close the gap.
Con’s Te Atawhai Mason missed a penalty but it was not needed in the end, as ‘Nure were held scoreless in a home Division 1A fixture for the first time since their 9-0 semi-final defeat to Clontarf in April 2015.
This was a repeat of last season’s semi-final clash which the south Dubliners won 30-12. They were looking to right the wrongs of last week’s 26-16 loss at Clontarf, and Cork Con were also aiming to bounce back from a frustrating late reversal at the hands of Ballynahinch.
Terenure’s execution let them down during the opening exchanges, with a kick out on the full, a high tackle and a miscued lineout. Cork Con began to make ground with their forward carries and Taylor’s accurate right boot.
Luke Masters had to fight hard to retain lineout possession, and although the same attack saw George Coomber pick up a match-ending injury, Taylor’s thumping 10th-minute penalty goal punished Peter Sylvester for not rolling away.
John Forde forced a turnover and a resulting penalty, which Taylor sent through the posts from just inside Terenure’s 10-metre line for a 6-0 lead. ‘Nure looked to build from deep in response, winning a maul turnover and a subsequent scrum penalty.
However, Cork Con skipper Hyland pinched a lineout to rob the hosts of a promising position just inside the opposition 22. A second scrum penalty, on the back of a Matthew Bowen break, had Holland’s charges pressing for the game’s opening try.
It duly arrived from the next lineout, which a couple of backs joined before Scannell threw in to Eoin Quilter who quickly transferred the ball down to Hyland, and a determined drive ended with Scannell crashing over. Taylor added the extras to make it 13-0.
Nearing the half hour mark, Hyland ripped possession back for Con and Louis Kahn’s kick over the top led to Adam La Grue conceding a five-metre scrum, under pressure from the quickly-arriving Hurley and Kelleher.
Terenure held firm, earning a clearing penalty at the breakdown through Colm de Buitléar, but Caolan Dooley was unable to open their account from distance after Quilter had caught Harrison Brewer with a high tackle.
Con stung ‘Nure further with a well-worked try just before the interval. Louis Kahn’s midfield interception launched Hyland and Bowen down the left wing and when play came back out to the right, Billy Crowley’s clever kick through was touched down by Hurley ahead of La Grue.
Industrious openside flanker O’Sullivan typified Con’s work-rate in defence, making a crucial tackle on the fast-breaking de Buitléar before his turnover, a few phases later, brought a bruising first half to a close.
De Buitléar threatened again early in the second period, breaking a tackle past halfway and accelerating through to send Alan Bennie towards the try-line. Harry O’Riordan saved Cork Con’s bacon with a brilliant tackle and turnover.
This heavyweight encounter continued to ebb and flow, Con replacement Mason using a Mark Stafford turnover to open up some space and kick downfield for a lineout, only for the set-piece to misfire. Terenure hooker Sean McNulty collected the loose ball and fired away a superb 50:22 kick from his own 22.
Despite another turnover won by Kelleher, Cork Con came under further pressure following Taylor’s sin-binning for falling on the wrong side after making a tackle a few metres out from his own try-line.
Much to Terenure’s annoyance, referee Peter Martin penalised their loosehead Conan O’Donnell for bringing down the resulting scrum. Sean Duffy’s ball-dislodging tackle on Luke Clohessy lifted 14-man Con and they reached the hour mark looking the better side.
‘Nure paid the price for one too many scrum infringements, as Howard landed himself in the sin bin. Mason missed the target with his penalty kick, while ‘Nure breathed a sigh of relief when they coughed up their own lineout and Con’s Max Abbott was held up.
With Howard still on the touchline and Adam Tuite hobbling off through injury, Sean Skehan’s outfit briefly lost the services of Conall Boomer and Jordan Coghlan with the scrums going uncontested.
Boomer returned to the pitch to trade turnover penalties with Con replacement prop Charlie Connolly, who also produced a touch-finding kick during the closing stages. A Kelleher lineout steal ensured that the Leesiders saw out the game in control of possession.
TERENURE COLLEGE: Adam La Grue; Caolan Dooley, Colm de Buitléar, Peter Sylvester, Craig Adams; Aran Egan, Alan Bennie; Conan O’Donnell, Sean McNulty, Adam Tuite, Harrison Brewer (capt), Matthew Caffrey, Conall Boomer, Luke Clohessy, Jordan Coghlan.
Replacements: Tom Stewart, Ben Howard, Mikey O’Reilly, Fintan Gunne, Callum Smith, Sam Berman.
CORK CONSTITUTION: George Coomber; Daniel Hurley, Billy Crowley, Harry O’Riordan, Matthew Bowen; James Taylor, Louis Kahn; Alessandro Heaney, Billy Scannell, Luke Masters, John Forde, Eoin Quilter, Jack Kelleher, Ronan O’Sullivan, David Hyland (capt).
Replacements: Max Abbott, Charlie Connolly, Sean Duffy, Mark Stafford, Adam Maher, Te Atawhai Mason.