New Temple Hill a credit to club game
In Cork on Saturday it was club rugby's turn to take centre stage, with Cork Con retaining the Bateman Cup following a hard-fought but well-earned 19-6 win over UCD.
It was my first time in Temple Hill since the opening of the new clubhouse and, in these trying times for everyone involved in the club game in Ireland, the new multi-purpose facility is a credit to everyone in this great, sporting club.
The pitch too, and specifically the quality of the playing surface, is on a par with neighbouring Flower Lodge (now Pairc Ui Rinn) in its pomp.
Despite being ... er ... marked by John Herrick and Noel O'Mahony in my football playing time, travelling to take on Cork Hibs was always definitely one of the highlights of the League of Ireland season. The Temple Hill surface is now a match in almost every way.
It's a pity the soft Leeside conditions made ball-handling difficult, but credit goes to Tom Mulcahy, Mick O'Driscoll and Con.
The Billy Holland- and Willie Ryan-inspired pack was aided and abetted by the ice-cool tactical and technical goalkicking of Jerry Hurley but, more than anything, the near flawless full-back display of Dara Lyons ensured the All-Ireland trophy remained where it is most deserved.
In terms of positional play, kicking out of hand and a gem of an individual try, Lyons was in a different class. Former international full-back and backroom mentor Kenny Murphy will have approved.