Con triumph a shot in the arm for clubs
Being a Garryowen man it's difficult to praise the goings-on at Cork Con, writes David Wallace, but I'm going to draw on the first few years of my rugby career where I played with Constitution until I was about 12.
It was a fantastic victory for them in the Ulster Bank League Division 1 final last weekend at Aviva Stadium, and it was a huge statement to beat reigning champions Clontarf.
Con have obviously dominated the Bateman Cup in recent years, and they also the Munster Senior Cup this year. But this victory will mean much more to them, and it shows the rest of Ireland that Munster club rugby is as strong as it ever was.
For many people, club rugby is still the heartbeat, and in the last decade there was a big exodus of Munster-based players towards Dublin, where they joined the Ulster Bank League clubs up there.
Last season the Munster clubs began to turn the tide, and although Clontarf won the title, it looked like things were changing in the top tier.
Now you have a Cork club winning the Division 1 crown and it will send ripples through the club game.
Let's not forget, Con saw Munster's high-performance centre in UL as a backward step for them. They feared players would leave Cork for Limerick, but this is a massive shot in the arm for them.