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Hurley And Holland Steer Cork Con To Victory

Hurley And Holland Steer Cork Con To Victory

Cork Constitution condemned Shannon to their seventh straight defeat in this season’s Ulster Bank League, but the basement side did put in a brave effort at Temple Hill.

There have been contrasting fortunes for these two giants of the Irish club scene this season, with nine-time champions Shannon struggling at the foot of the table.

Having parted company with Stephen Keogh, the coaching reins have been taken up in the interim by former Connacht winger Brian Tuohy and James Hickey.

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The Limerick men encouragingly picked up two losing bonus points in recent weeks, and got off to a positive start on Saturday afternoon in sunny conditions on Leeside.

The visitors' scrum half Rob Guerin missed an early penalty chance before out-half Johnny Holland landed a 25-metre penalty for Cork Con, the newly-crowned Munster Senior Cup champions.

Brian Walsh’s charges, eager to banish memories of their 44-13 hammering by Old Belvedere, stepped it up over the next quarter hour to pull clear of a gallant but limited Shannon side.

Winger Conor Desmond intercepted a wayward pass from Tadhg Bennett to sprint in for a try from halfway with Holland adding the extras.

A further penalty was fired over by Holland in the 25th minute, this time from inside the Shannon 22, to leave the visitors 13-0 behind.

On the resumption, the young Shannon outfit lifted the tempo and the hard-working Guerin intercepted and surged through a gap to score a terrific try that he converted himself.

Constitution’s lead was down to just three points after Guerin was successful with a 25-metre penalty, closing in on the hour mark.

But the hosts rallied, defending a succession of maul drives from Shannon and when it was their turn to press, a penalty was tucked away by Holland for a 16-10 scoreline.

They got some further breathing space with Shannon lock Fergal Walsh sent to the sin-bin right on the hour mark.

Moments later, a poor Shannon heel at a scrum close to their line allowed Constitution scrum half and captain Gerry Hurley tapping the ball over the whitewash and scoring an opportunist try which Holland converted.

Shannon did fight back to earn a deserved second try as teenage winger Cormac O’Donnell got over in the right corner for a well-taken 77th minute try.

However, Guerin missed the conversion attempt – leaving Shannon without a well-merited bonus point – as Cork Con made it four successive home victories since the league began.

Referee: Nigel Correll (IRFU)