Moynihan wins it for Con late on
CORK CONSTITUTION moved to the top of the All-Ireland League Division 1A table with an impressive comeback victory over Clontarf at Castle Avenue on Saturday afternoon.
Trailing by 10 points (13-3) inside the closing-quarter, Con subsequently levelled through a Joe McSwiney converted try.
This set up a grandstand conclusion to the contest and Aidan Moynihan’s ice-cool stoppage-time penalty swung the outcome in the Leesiders’ favour.
After overcoming the early sin-binning of skipper Niall Kenneally, Con (who have developed an intense rivalry with ‘Tarf in recent seasons) opened their account courtesy of Moynihan’s 16th-minute place-kick.
They largely dominated possession, until ‘Tarf issued them with a significant sucker punch.
Scrum-half Angus Lloyd – formerly of Munster – broke at pace out of defence and off-loaded to Cian O’Donoghue for a lung-bursting jaunt over the whitewash.
The hosts grew in stature as a result of this magnificent score, although they had to be content with a 5-3 interval cushion.
Con looked set to wipe out this deficit on the resumption, when Moynihan stepped up to the kicking tee for his second effort at the posts. He fired past the right-hand upright on this occasion, though, and Con were eventually punished at the opposite end.
Off an attacking scrum deep into enemy territory, ‘Tarf centre Matt D’Arcy drove powerfully over the line for his side’s second try of the action.
Following another wayward kick by Hawkshaw, David Joyce was entrusted with their next attempt at goal on 63 minutes.
Despite being marginally inside his own half, he superbly dissected the posts to create further daylight between the teams.
An additional Moynihan three-pointer breathed fresh life into the Con challenge, however, as their pack started to gain a sizeable edge in the set-piece stakes.
A numerical supremacy opened the door for Con to restored parity and their relentless pressure paid off in the form of a neat McSwiney touchdown. A routine Moynihan conversion ensued, leaving the tie delicately poised with the final whistle in sight.
Con were not prepared to settle for a sharing of the spoils and they turned over a ‘Tarf defensive scrum to give Moynihan a last shot at glory.
He made no mistake from the 22-metre-line to offer Con a precious triumph in the north Dublin venue.
Scorers for Clontarf: C O’Donoghue, M D’Arcy try each, D Joyce pen.
Scorers for Cork Constitution: J McSwiney try, A Moynihan con, 3 pens.
CLONTARF: J Power; S O’Brien, M Courtney, M D’Arcy, C O’Donoghue; D Hawkshaw, A Lloyd; I Soroka, P Finlay, R Burke-Flynn; C Daly, B Reilly; T Ryan, V Gavin, C Walsh.
Replacements: D Joyce for Courtney (39), M Kelly for Gavin (53), C Johnson for Burke-Flynn (59).
CORK CONSTITUTION: L O’Connell; A McHenry, S Daly, N Kenneally, R Jermyn; A Moynihan, J Higgins; G Duffy, V O’Brien, B Scott; C Kindregan, B Hayes; K Sheahan, R O’Neill, L Cahill.
Replacements: J McSwiney for O’Neill (h-t), B Quinlan for Duffy (59), R Cassidy for Higgins (79), D Murphy for Scott (82).
Referee: J Erskine (IRFU).