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Cork Con Prove Clinical Against Shannon

Cork Con Prove Clinical Against Shannon

Cork Constitution took advantage of Old Belvedere’s slip-up at home to Young Munster, as the Leesiders moved back to the top of Division 1A.

This heavyweight Ulster Bank League clash was dominated by Shannon for long stretches, but Cork Con's disciplined defence was able to frustrate the visitors.

Shannon enjoyed the lion's share of possession and also put pressure on the hosts' scrum, but they could not make it count on the scoreboard.

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The Limerick giants came in search of their first win at Temple Hill in almost two decades, with their confidence boosted by last weekend's defeat of St. Mary's College.

Cork Con defended the clubhouse end in the first half and hit the front after just five minutes. A back row move released Brendan Cuttriss and the flanker exposed a gap around the fringes of Shannon's defence to score. Scrum half Gerry Hurley converted for a 7-0 scoreline.

Munster and Ireland prop Marcus Horan tried to inspire the Shannon pack and they had the hosts under pressure coming up to half-time.

Facing into a stiff breeze, Shannon out-half Gareth Quinn McDonogh missed a 14th minute penalty and turnovers and solid defence kept Colm Tucker's men scoreless.

Players like Frank Cogan and Aidan Foley really stepped up to the mark for the defending champions, who had Darragh Lyons back at out-half following two months out with injury.

Shannon stormed back on the attack at the start of the second half and it took a superb try-saving tackle from Cork Con full-back Sean Scanlon to deny Stephen Kelly near the corner.

Hurley added three more points to Constitution's tally with a penalty in the 65th minute, and Shannon's frustration grew when they added a further try through Munster-contracted Ivan Dineen.

Again, it came against the run of play. In the final quarter, Shannon moved the ball through the hands in search of a score, but a misplaced pass was scooped up by Dineen who ran in under the posts from 40 metres out.

Hurley had a simple tap-over for the conversion and Brian Walsh's charges had a comfortable ride to the finish.

Speaking afterwards, Marcus Horan, who put in a busy 65-minute shift, said: “Con are a good team, they've got great strength in depth considering the depletion they had this weekend with players involved with Munster, so it's a credit to them.

“There's huge disappointment in our dressing room. We'd a massive win last week against a well-fancied St. Mary's team in terrible conditions, so everyone's just gutted as this was another big one for us.”

Referee: Alain Rolland (IRFU)