Monday 22 January 2018

Excellent Deasy keeps Con happy

Kieran Rooney

LEADERS Cork Constitution weren't about to grumble too much about their failure to overcome Garryowen in Saturday's AIB League Division 1A clash at Dooradoyle.

There was never any real chance of flowing rugby in a match played in difficult foggy and muddy conditions. Effectively, it came down to a highly competitive forward battle and kicking duel between Cork Constitution's Scott Deasy and Conor Murray of Garryowen.

Cork Con coach Brian Walsh admitted as much, while at the same time arguing that the entertainment level will surely improve when the sides clash again in the AIB Cup final at Dubarry Park next Saturday.

"Taking into account the conditions and the fact that Garryowen have strung some good results together recently, we knew it was going to be tight," said Walsh.

"Naturally, there's a certain amount of disappointment that we didn't avail of a late penalty opportunity, but, at the same time, getting anything on the road in this league is a benefit."

"I'd be disappointed with the amount of kicking there was. But, hopefully, there will be a nice pitch next weekend, and the two sides will have the chance to show what they are really capable of."

No doubt, the battle between the respective scrum-halves, Duncan Williams of Cork Constitution and Garryowen's Murray, will prove crucial. Both Walsh and Garryowen's Director of Rugby Greig Oliver believe these two Munster contracted players have real potential.

Oliver, capped by Scotland at scrum-half, is in a good position to assess, given that he has already helped Munster in their development. He commented: "Obviously, I know Conor Murray particularly well and he brings a lot of things to the table because of his height and strength.

"He's also an excellent goalkicker, so he has a good future. Duncan, unfortunately, has been plagued by injuries, but he has a great astuteness about him. Munster are fortunate to have the two of them."

Walsh agrees, but he is also aware that there is a lot more to his team than Williams. Full-back Deasy, for example, is an excellent footballer.

And the fact that he has the place-kicking duties makes him extra important. On Saturday, he was successful with two out of four, his second miss 10 minutes from the end proving costly.

But, overall, he was one of the better players of the pitch, managing two quality second-half breaks.

Murray landed two out of three penalties for Garryowen, only missing with an early effort from near half-way.

There was never anything between the sides . Garryowen had slightly the better of the first half to lead 6-3, before Deasy levelled matters for an improved Cork Con side 17 minutes after the break.

With St Mary's losing, Cork Con are still leading the table by two points. As for Garryowen, Saturday's draw importantly moves them to within a point of third from bottom Clontarf, but with a game in hand.

Garryowen -- R O'Mahony; I Hanley, C Doyle (capt), K Hartigan, A Gaughan; W Staunton, C Murray; J Halpin, M Sherry, D Lavery, F McKenna (M Melbourne 58), E Mackey (A McCluskey 58), P Neville, A Kavanagh, D Sherry.

Cork ConsTitution -- S Deasy; R Lane, T Gleeson, E Ryan (capt), C Healy; D Lyons, D Williams; G Murray (M Gately 47), R Quinn, S Archer, M O'Connell (E Leamy 79), I Nagle, B Holland, P O'Malley, F Cogan.

Ref -- C Stanley.

Irish Independent

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