Wednesday 21 August 2019

Unflappable Quinlan kicks Cork Con to thrilling comeback win


Tomas Quinlan of Cork Constitution. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Tomas Quinlan of Cork Constitution. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile Sportsdesk

Tomas Quinlan rescued a win from the jaws of defeat for Cork Constitution as they pipped St Mary's College 21-19 at Temple Hill yesterday.

Quinlan's late penalty denied Division 1A strugglers St Mary's, despite an excellent performance.

Half-backs Jason Higgins and Aidan Moynihan drove Constitution into an early 10-point lead, the scrum-half weighing in with a try and former Galwegian Moynihan kicking the other points.

Conor Dean opened Mary's account with a 14th-minute penalty, before a kick ahead by Brian Hayes led to flanker Graeme Lawler touching down.

However, the Dubliners had the better of the first half, centre Marcus ­O'Driscoll leaving the defence for dead as he ran in a smashing solo try, converted by out-half Dean who also added a penalty.

The 15-13 deficit at the break was erased by Dean's 55th-minute penalty. Quinlan replaced Moynihan and restored Con's lead with a 67th-minute penalty, only for a Dean to make it 19-18.

But Cork Con showed why they won the league title last season. A final push earned them a shot at glory and Quinlan coolly-struck the match-winner.

Garryowen have climbed into second place in Division 1A thanks to a 37-28 bonus point win over Dublin University at College Park.

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Munster Academy winger Liam Coombes starred with a hat-trick of tries in a thrilling encounter which saw Trinity also pick up a try-scoring bonus point.

The students hit the front in the 14th minute, a well-executed lineout maul seeing American recruit Alex McDonald reach over in the corner.

James Fennelly then nailed the difficult conversion - the first of his four good kicks - but Garryowen full-back David Johnston took advantage of some loose defending to make it 7-5 by the end of the first quarter.

A penalty from captain Neil Cronin judged the Light Blues ahead before the 6ft 3in Coombes opened his account via a clever attack on the half hour, and then he pounced for another try on the stroke of half-time. That left Trinity 20-7 in arrears. They were right back in it, though, when full-back Michael Silvester squeezed over in the corner.

But the students slumped again when allowing Garryowen through for a quick-fire double, as their defence was found wanting.

Coombes nabbed his third try and the bonus point in the 52nd minute, and replacement James McInerney got on the scoresheet three minutes later.

That put 20 points between the sides and a final penalty from Cronin, 10 minutes from time, completed the visitors' haul.

Young replacement Conor Kelly ­landed the decisive penalty with the last kick of the game as Clontarf claimed a breathless 23-23 victory at Young Munster.

Munsters fell 15 points in arrears and came back to lead twice in the second half, however 'Tarf had the final say as Kelly kicked his first Ulster Bank League points.

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