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Cork Con Battle For Gritty Derby Win

Cork Con Battle For Gritty Derby Win

Cork Constitution moved up to fourth in the Division 1A standings on the back of a tight win over local rivals Dolphin at Temple Hill, in a cracking derby that produced eight tries in all.

Brian Walsh's men staged a remarkable comeback from 18 points down with just 17 minutes remaining, to keep alive their slim hopes of overhauling pacesetters Clontarf in the title race.

Having lost to 'Tarf last time out, it was vital that Cork Con get back to winning ways here and it was not looking good for them as they were left trailing 10-5 at the break.

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Flanker John Quill grabbed a converted try for Dolphin whose pack forced the issue, with assured out-half Barry Keeshan also kicking a first half penalty.

Keeshan had closed the gap to 5-3 in the 32nd minute before Steve Ford's side struck for a try right on the stroke of half-time.

A lovely back-line move from Dolphin opened up the home defence and winger Cian Bohane was able to put Quill over for a terrific team try.

An unconverted effort from Munster’s Sean Scanlon, who started at full-back, proved to be Constitution’s only score of a scrappy first 40 minutes. Scanlon got over in the corner in the ninth minute after collecting Johnny Holland's cross-field kick.

The intensity increased early in the second half with Dolphin putting on a spurt, and tries from replacement Chris Nolan and the in-form Quill should have netted their third victory on the trot.

That run of scores, which included a single conversion from Keeshan, put Dolphin well and truly in the driving seat at 22-5 with 46 minutes on the clock.

Cork Con replied with a try in the corner from their strong-running centre Niall O'Driscoll who had earlier knocked on over the try-line.

Captain Keeshan then chipped in with an excellent drop goal and penalty to make it 28-10 to the Dolphin, but roared on by a vocal home support Constitution found enough resolve to outlast their fellow Corkmen in a thrilling finish.

They dug deep up front, with skipper Brian Hayes and Cathal O’Flaherty impressing, and created enough front foot ball to put their dangerous backs through for scores in a memorable final quarter display.

They added three tries to their tally in the closing stages, with winger Cathal Quinn's 64th-minute scored topped off by Gerry Hurley's conversion.

Scanlon nabbed a second try and centre Niall O’Driscoll and scrum half Gerry Hurley also dotted down to hand the home side a welcome bonus point.

Hurley, who is again part of the Ireland Clubs squad this year, was hugely influential in Constitution’s comeback and he bagged the bonus point try to at least secure something from the game for the home side.

But Walsh's charges had more in the tank and in a dramatic final act, Ivan Dineen brilliantly broke free to put his Munster colleague Scanlon through for the match-winning try. The conversion was missed, but the minimum margin was enough for the hosts.

Referee: Leo Colgan (IRFU)