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Cork Constitution Title Defence on Track

26th November 2006 By Munster Rugby

Cork Constitution’s campaign to retain the AIB All Ireland Cup got off to a winning start on Saturday, with two extra time tries securing their 39-25 win over Lansdowne at Temple Hill in the only preliminary game of this year’s competition.

Cork Constitution’s campaign to retain the AIB All Ireland Cup got off to a winning start on Saturday, with two extra time tries securing their 39-25 win over Lansdowne at Temple Hill in the only preliminary game of this year’s competition.

Cork Constitution 39-25 Lansdowne

The champions Constitution bagged five tries through wingers David O’ Leary and Cronan Healy, full-back Denis Hurley, scrum half Peter McKee and inspirational number 8 and captain Frank Cogan.

Lansdowne, who led 25-18 until Healy’s late leveller forced extra-time, tallied up three tries with scrum half Shane Whelan, centre Clem Casey and winger Neil Walsh getting off the mark.

The Dubliners led 8-7 at the interval thanks to Whelan’s score and a well-struck penalty from the boot of full-back Robbie Dolan. Constitution’s grasp on the cup seemed to be slipping when Casey bulldozed through for a 45th-minute try which Dolan converted. But the hosts dug deep and hit Lansdowne for a quick 10 points – Richie Lane converted Hurley’s try and kicked a penalty- while Whelan was in the sin-bin.

Darragh Lyons and Lansdowne’s Kiwi recruit Mana Ashford then swapped drop goals as the game ebbed towards a nail-biting finish.

Walsh cut through to end a great back line move and send the visitors into a 25-20 lead, however Con fought back and after eight furious phases, Healy was worked in at the corner to square the game up.

Lane missed what would have been the match-winning conversion, yet the super-fit champions came good in the second half of extra-time with both McKee and Cogan breaking through for converted tries.

Next up for Cork Constitution is St. Mary’s College in the first round in January, in a repeat of last year’s final. Cork Constitution have established a tradition for claiming historic titles- not only having won the inaugural AIB Cup title last April, they also won the very first AIB All Ireland League in 1991.

The first round kicks off over the weekend of January 12th and 13th. Joining Constitution in the AIB Cup this season are four other Munster clubs, who qualified having come through the second round of the ODM Munster Senior Challenge Cup. Garryowen will host Buccaneers, Shannon host Clontarf, Nenagh Ormond travel to Belfast Harlequins and Clonakilty host Greystones in Round One.

Scorers:
Cork Constitution:

Tries: David O’Leary, Denis Hurley, Cronan Healy, Peter McKee, Frank Cogan
Cons: Richie Lane 3, Conor Quaid
Pen: Lane
DG: Daragh Lyons
Lansdowne:
Tries: Shane Whelan, Clem Casey, Neil Walsh
Cons: Robbie Dolan 2
Pen: Dolan
DG: Mana Ashford

Details from www.irishrugby.ie

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