Double in Cork con sights in dismissal of Dolphin
Williams plays key role
SURELY no one will bet against Cork Constitution's ability to complete the double following Saturday's Temple Hill success over Dolphin.
Effectively, their capability to add the league to the AIB Cup they won this season will come down to their strength in depth. On Saturday they were denied six squad members because of Munster's clash with Connacht yesterday.
Admittedly, Dolphin lost five for the same reason and then had to do without scrum-half Sam Cronin. The highly rated Cronin was stranded in Berlin because of the volcanic ash crisis.
So, it could be argued that Dolphin were, in fact, worse off because of Cork Con's greater resources. Either way, there was the concern that this game would fall well short in standards.
But there was no need to worry. In the circumstances, the two sides provided a tremendously entertaining match, containing six tries.
Dolphin played their part, leading 18-13 at half-time. But Cork Con took control when they had the advantage of the breeze in the second period to add three unconverted tries.
Though some of their top players were missing Cork Con, crucially, did have another of their Munster contracted players in Duncan Williams. The scrum-half is absolutely vital to this Cork Con side, as is their No 8 Frank Cogan.
There were other fine displays from flanker Ed Leamy, wing Cronan Healy, and full-back Richard Lane, but Williams shone brightest. As the Dolphin coach Steve Ford said: "Not only does Williams create tries, but he scores them."
Even so, Ford must have been reasonably hopeful that his team could pull it off when 18-13 ahead at the interval. They had tries from Eric Moloney, a strong running centre, and No 8 Robbie Allen, while out-half Barry Keeshan landed a drop-goal, penalty and a conversion.
Lane kept Con very much in contention, scoring a fine breakaway try, converting it, and kicking two penalties. But the home side were not at their best and clearly required an improvement to turn things around.
"We needed to increase our intensity and look after the ball better," stressed coach Brian Walsh. They did to the extent that, within eight minutes of the restart, they were 21-18 ahead.
Lane landed his fourth penalty before Leamy secured a well-worked try in the corner. By then, Williams was playing an increasingly important role, and he duly added another try after some excellent inter-passing between Healy and Leamy.
To complete matters, Williams then set up prop Martin Gately for Cork Con's fourth try, making it 31-18.
Dolphin, to their credit, had plenty of the play in the final quarter, but lacked the necessary composure.
From Cork Con's viewpoint, there could be no complaints about their second-half effort. All that remains now is to put it together for another 80 minutes against St Mary's College in the final and complete the cup and league double.
Cork Constitution -- R Lane; A Horgan (C Jouvet 71), A Ryan, E Ryan (capt), C Healy; D Lyons, D Williams; M Gately (G Murray 78), R Quinn, S Archer, M O'Connell, B Hayes, I Nagle, E Leamy, F Cogan.
Dolphin -- N O'Driscoll; R Kennelly (C Bohane 29), E Moloney, K Lynch (C O'Flynn 80), P Hurley; B Keeshan, M Purcell (D McCarthy 71); R O'Neill (A Foley 70), A O'Driscoll (K Murray 53), C Condon, C Rowe, K O'Dwyer (T Keogh 71), F Stone, R Geoghegan (G Finn 58), R Allen.
Ref -- G Clancy.