U20s Cork Constitution 15 - 10 Corinthians

November 7, 2018

Corinthians U20’s travelled down to Cork on Saturday to play Cork Con in a critical AIL Div 1 game. Both sides were locked in 3rd place in the league table with Cork Con having played one game less so it was therefore potentially an 8 point game for both sides. As the league draws to a conclusion and the top 5 playoff positions are decided the winner is more or less guaranteed a place in the play-offs.
Corinthians travelled without the injured second rows Rory Shanahan and David Ott and with replacement Colin Raftery also unavailable it left them without some critical power. However they were buoyed by recent performances and were confident in their own ability to compete in all areas of the park. The match was played in ideal conditions in Temple Hill with the breeze favouring Corinthians in the first half. Corinthians started in a blaze of aggressive controlled rugby and put Cork Con under enormous pressure for the first 20 minutes whilst dominating possession and territory. They were very unlucky not to score a try with Finn Gormley and later Shane Conneely being stopped just short. However the pressure eventually began to tell and after 15 minutes out-half Brendan Carpenter got over for a well worked try after hard graft by forwards Mitchell Mc Grath and Eoin Costello and a good off load in the tackle by Eric Flynn. Further pressure immediately after offered the opportunity of a penalty but unfortunately the out-half was again off target. Open side flanker Liam Carpenter who had started the game carrying an injury then had to go off to be replaced by Johnny Kearney. Unfortunately while Corinthians were dominant in the loose and showed the greater determination and aggression, they were unable to control the set-pieces and this ultimately was to prove their downfall. Against the run of play Cork Con scored when the ball was turned over in contact and centre O’Leary broke through a tackle on the half way line to run in unopposed for an impressive try. Again the conversion was missed; leaving the score tied 5-5 at half-time.
The second half started with Cork Con using the now stronger breeze to their advantage and Corinthians were pinned in their own half for long periods. Good defence from back row Conneely, Casey and Kearney ensured that the line was well protected but the pressure eventually paid off when they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts for an off-side infringement. This then allowed Corinthians get out of their own half and an improved line-out with good ball from Higgins and Costello allowed replacement scrum-half Peter Walsh release his outside backs. Then with 60 minutes on the clock Cork Con again turned over the ball and booted the ball down field. Winger Ronan Browne gathered the ball and kicked back to full back de Souza who counter attacked from his 22, evaded tackles, then kicked ahead and when Corinthians failed to put the ball into touch, he hacked downfield to score a fortuitous try which he then converted from the touchline. Corinthians responded heroically and with James Robinson leading by example they went through more than 10 phases before Peter Walsh darted over for a well deserved try. Unfortunately the conversion was missed leaving the score at 15 – 10. Corinthians continued to pile on the pressure and winger Enda Cooney was stopped just short after Dave Clarke, now at out half, created space for him out wide. Despite sustained possession and pressure, Corinthians couldn’t breach the home sides well marshalled defence and the score remained at 15 – 10 at the finish with a bonus point scant reward for this brave Corinthians side which with only two games left to play, have a battle on their hands to retain their play-off position. Next week-end they face an impressive UCC side who are strongly challenging for top spot in the league. There is no doubt but that Corinthians have the talent and the will to win but it will require all their fire power to perform at their best if they are to get the result needed to qualify. Home support was an important factor in Cork Cons home win last week-end and all rugby supporters are encouraged to come along to Corinthians Park next Saturday at 2.30pm to support the home side and enjoy top class rugby.
Corinthians: Russell, O’Connell, Gormley, Clarke, Cooney, Carpenter, Flynn, Conneely, Carpenter, Casey, Costello, Higgins, Robinson, Mc Grath, Tierney. Subs: Egan, Nee, Kearney, Flynn, Walsh, Nairn, Browne.