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Cork Con land second crown

Cork Con may have thrown away last year's AIB Cup final but they came back from the dead in this season's final at Dubarry Park yesterday to become the first club to lift the trophy twice.

It looked ominous for the Cork men at half-time when they trailed 11-5 and were reduced to 14 men when lock Ian Nagle got a straight red for repeated use of his fists at a ruck.

It was a double blow for last year's runners-up as in the same move Garryowen hooker Michael Sherry barged over for a try to put his side six points to the good.

Cork Con were on the ropes as they went in down a man and trailing after an opening half where they had the bulk of the possession, but they failed to build on a bright opening when Richard Lane got in for a try after fifteen minutes.

It was no surprise when there was little open rugby between these arch rivals but it was always compelling, especially up front which developed into a great battle between the two packs.

Garryowen eventually settled and Conor Murray got them off the mark after 26 minutes with a superb penalty from 35 metres on the left.

He landed a more difficult one six minutes from the break and they seemed poised for success with Sherry's try and Nagle's dismissal.

But Garryowen never pushed on from there and it was Cork Con who owned the ball after the restart despite their numerical disadvantage.

They were rewarded for their patience when they recycled the ball several times before out-half Daragh Lyons spotted an opening and squirmed over with 12 minutes remaining to reduce the deficit to a point.

Scott Deasy added the conversion from just to the left of the posts to put Cork Con into a lead they never lost.

Garryown never looked like coming back and Deasy made the game safe with a penalty in the dying moments of a good tussle.

Scorers -- Cork Con: Lane, Lyons tries, Deasy pen, con; Garryowen: Sherry try, Murray 2 pens

Cork Constitution: S Deasy; R Lane, T Gleeson, E Ryan (A Ryan, 70) C Healy; D Lyons, D Williams (D O'Driscoll 77); M Gately (G Murray 80), R Quinn, S Archer; M O'Connell (B Hayes, 70) I Nagle; B Holland, F Cogan, P O'Mahony.

Garryowen: R O'Mahony; I Hanley, C Doyle, K Hartigan, A Gaughan (C Hartigan, 70); W Staunton, C Murray; J Harney, 75), M Sherry, D Lavery; F McKenna (A McCloskey 70), E Mackey (M Melbourne 75); P Neville, D Sherry, A Kavanagh (L Burke, 70).

Referee: A Rolland (IRFU).

Sunday Independent