Concession of soft tries hurts Hickey
CORK CONSTITUTION coach Brian Hickey admitted the concession of soft scores played a major part in his side’s 35-27 defeat to Lansdowne in Division 1A of the All-Ireland League last Saturday.
Despite registering four tries on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch in a fast-paced affair, Con suffered their opening reversal of the 2018/19 domestic campaign.
“I think we were never close enough to be closing scores on them. We got back into the game at 8-5 and we just kept leaving them get too far ahead,” Hickey explained after the game.
“Then I thought when we came back into it, I was kind of thinking ‘could we get back into bonus point territory’. Losing bonus point territory.
“Then we conceded another try to let them get clear ahead, to give them a comfortable enough finish. That was disappointing.”
While the eight-point gap between the teams meant they missed out on a losing bonus, skipper Niall Kenneally touched down in stoppage-time to ensure Con achieved something tangible in their latest trip to the Ballsbridge venue.
Even allowing for the fact that Lansdowne were the superior team on the day, Con passed up additional try-scoring opportunities in either half.
A more expansive approach has produced 98 points for the Leesiders in their four league games to date, giving Hickey plenty of cause for optimism.
“We’re trying to maybe change a little bit in how we’re playing and I think it has worked fairly well for us in the games leading up to this.
“This was always going to be a step up in terms of intensity, defence, physicality.
“I’ve seen enough to suggest we keep working on it, but it did certainly pointed out where we’re maybe not as clinical as we got away with in previous matches.”
Next up for Con is a crunch home encounter against Garryowen next Saturday, which will be followed by a three-week break from all league action.
Sparks normally fly when the two Munster giants come face-to-face and Hickey believes their latest clash will be along similar lines.
“That will be a huge one and then there’ll be a little bit of a breather after that.
“Con and Garryowen will have a life of its own. We just need to get the injuries sorted out and get back into it.”
Alongside the list of absentees in advance of last weekend’s tie, the Con management will also have to deal with the standard bumps and bruises associated with life at this level.
However, given they were playing on Lansdowne’s re-surfaced all-weather pitch, Hickey was hopeful that his squad would be largely unscathed for the Garryowen game.
“We picked up a few knocks going into today. I think every team will and we probably had a few there today, but in fairness it was great to play on the pitch. It has been long overdue having the new pitch here.
“The games have been tight and fast, and open. Certainly there won’t be as many cuts and scrapes as there would have been in the past,” Hickey added.