Wheels keep turning as Cork Con chase more glory
They may have secured their sixth All-Ireland League title in May, but versatile forward Evan Mintern insists Cork Constitution’s insatiable desire for silverware hasn’t dimmed in the off-season.
Despite ending the 2018/19 campaign on top of the AIL ladder, the failure to add the Bateman Cup to their trophy cabinet ensures the Leesiders will be out to prove they are the best team in the land.
“We have the Charity Cup, Munster Senior Cup and the League, but we don’t have the Bateman [All-Ireland] Cup. Because we lost in the final of the [Munster] Senior Cup last year, we didn’t qualify. No matter the amount of silverware we have, we still want more,” Mintern said at yesterday’s All-Ireland League launch in Donnybrook.
“Winning the league is perfect, it’s great craic. Technically we were the best club in the country, but we lost a game in the final against Garryowen that didn’t put us in contention for the Bateman Cup. It niggles at you, thinking ‘are we really?’ You really want to nail the point home that you are the best.”
If they are to retain the top-flight crown for the first time in the club’s history, they will have to do so without a host of last season’s squad. Alex McHenry and Shane Daly are also expected to be on Munster duty for the foreseeable future, while the influential Paul Barr has stepped away from his role in the backroom team.
Nonetheless, with director of coaching Brian Hickey and former Munster fly-half Jonny Holland still on board, they are expected to hit the ground running in their league opener against Garryowen on October 5.
“We’ve lost a few players. We’ve lost a seven, an eight, a scrum-half. Then we’ve fellas like Ross O’Neill, a brilliant seven. Dave Hyland, he’s a brilliant back-row. I saw him playing one senior game last year, he was top quality,” Mintern said. “That’s the thing with playing in Con. Everyone is replaceable. The wheels keep turning, you move on.”
Even though he is now an established part of the Temple Hill fabric, Mintern harbours ambitions of making it in the professional game. This will more than likely involve a move abroad, but it is a challenge the CIT student is eager to embrace.
“In the back of my mind, I’m thinking ‘I would like to just go over and see what it’s like’. [I’ll] finish my college degree in nutrition and health science. I’ve a year left. Finish that out, finish the season with Con.
“I love playing with Con. It’s not that I want to get out of there or anything, but I’m 23. Obviously that’s not old but, for pro clubs looking at you, they want to get bang for their buck. You have to be young, so they can get five, six years out of you. I hope by October, November to have sorted the agent. Get the video together and then plough on from there,” Mintern added.