Walsh breathes sigh of relief as Con edge into decider
Cork Con 19
Young Munster 9
AIL division 1 semi-final
Cork Constitution were made to fight incredibly hard before eventually seeing off the challenge of Young Munster at Temple Hill yesterday.
It was the combination of Young Munster's magnificent defence and the goal-kicking ability of Alan Kingsley that kept them right in this semi-final until the closing stages. Eventually, Cork Con scrum-half Gerry Hurley nailed a penalty and a drop-goal with the last kick of the game to see the holders through to the final in Donnybrook on Sunday May 1.
Quite rightly, Cork Con coach Brian Walsh paid tribute to Young Munster, stating: "They are a good side, defensively very strong. I don't think there was a missed tackle all day."
In the circumstances, it was just as well that Cork Con had an outstanding goal-kicker of their own in Hurley and that they made such a good start to the game. They also, yet again, showed their uncanny ability to adapt when losing one of their many top-flight players.
On this occasion, they chose to use a flanker, Peter O'Mahony, on the wing. But O'Mahony made an outstanding contribution, frequently using his strength to run back at Young Munster.
When Brian Hayes got over for his try after three minutes and Hurley landed the conversion, there seemed little hope for the Limerick outfit. Even more so when Hurley added a penalty to make it 10-0 after 26 minutes.
But Young Munster simply don't go away, and they cut the deficit to 10-6 with two Kingsley penalties. Hurley replied with a penalty for Con, to give them a 13-6 interval advantage.
A further Kingsley penalty made it 13-9 before Con laid siege to the Young Munster line. But there was simply no way through.
So, when Kingsley had another penalty opportunity to reduce the deficit to a point with 20 minutes left, the Cork fans were entitled to feel worried. For once, though, Kingsley made a mess of his kick.
A relieved Con regained control and eventually settled the nerves with a further penalty and a drop-goal from Man of the Match Hurley.
Cork Constitution -- S Scanlon, R Lane, I Dineen, C Jouve, P O'Mahony; S Deasy, G Hurley; M Gateley (A Foley 80), D Fogarty, D Hurley, B Hayes, I Nagle, B Holland, B Cutriss, F Cogan (Capt).
Young Munster -- I Cross; C O'Hanlon, M Costelloe, R Moloney, A Carroll; W Staunton (D Bannon 80), A Kingsley; G Flaherty (H McGrath 53), G Slattery (Capt), A Cotter, N Melbourne, S O'Neill (B Guilfoyle 4); L Og Murphy, J O'Neill, S Hassett.
Ref -- D Wilkinson.