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Derby Triumph For Cork Con

Derby Triumph For Cork Con

A terrific start to the second half inspired Cork Constitution to a crucial win over local rivals Dolphin at Musgrave Park on Saturday.

Brian Walsh's men had revenge on their minds after losing 19-9 to Dolphin at Temple Hill back in November. A similar result looked likely on Saturday when the home side burst ahead.

Dolphin had the wind at their backs, defending the Tramore Road end of the ground. Out-half and captain Barry Keeshan converted a second minute penalty from 40 metres out, for the first score. He missed a second effort.

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A try followed in the 12th minute, with flanker John Quill crossing after some sustained pressure from the home side.

Strong running from Eric Moloney and Cian Bohane set the attack in motion, and a series of drives from the forwards paved the way for Quill's score.

Keeshan converted and added a drop goal from near the halfway line five minutes later, with Steve Ford's side really motoring at this point.

They managed to take a 13-3 lead into half-time, despite losing young flanker Robert O'Herlihy to a yellow card. Talented half-back Gerry Hurley kicked a 32nd minute penalty for Cork Con.

But the table toppers took over on the resumption, helped by a 44th minute try from their inspirational skipper Frank Cogan.

Hurley added the extras and full-back Sean Scanlon was soon over in the corner after Richie Lane and Scanlon had created some space on the right, the try scorer showing a clean pair of heels to the Dolphin defence from 40 metres out.

The derby spoils were slipping from Dolphin's grasp when Cogan, who really came to the fore, released promising flanker Cathal O'Flaherty for his second try of the campaign.

Hurley and Keeshan traded penalties but the scoring dried up in the final quarter as Cork Con held on to gain a vital victory in their bid to retain the Division 1 title.

The 20-point scoring spree in 16 second half minutes drove the visitors to victory, and Scanlon had a second try cancelled out for crossing.

Dolphin had their moments and if their lineout had functioned as normal in the first half, they may have been further in front. They kept plugging away for scores in the final quarter, but the Constitution defence gave little away.

Speaking after the game, Cork Con boss Brian Walsh said: “To be fair, Dolphin probably deserved to get more (than a bonus point) out of it.

“It was tense, typical derby stuff. There was never going to be more than a score in it. We're glad to be out the other side of it.”

His opposite number, Dolphin's Steve Ford, admitted: “We're a very young unit for Division 1A. I had two 18-year-olds, Rob (O'Herlihy) and Niall (Scannell), starting in the pack today.

“But we've got some superb young talent in the club. We know the way the All-Ireland League is going. We've got our own system and our own players, such as Harry Fleming and Cian Bohane. Those boys are the future for us.”

Referee: Alan Lewis (IRFU)