YOUNG Munster’s dream of securing an eighth Bank of Ireland Munster Senior Cup title ended in a heart-breaking 14-7 final defeat to Cork Constitution at Thomond Park this Saturday.
Munsters’ hopes of claiming a first Cup success since 2010 were dented in the opening half after which four-in-a-row winner Cork Con enjoyed a sizeable 11-0 interval lead.
While Munster’s hit back with a 70th minute try from winger Darragh O’Neill, converted by Paul Downes, a third penalty goal from Con out-half Tomas Quinlan settled the issue in their favour.
Munster star Darren Sweetnam scored Con’s try on 26 minutes, while Tomas Quinlan landed two penalty goals on 21 minutes and just before half-time.
Munsters’ did create a number of good scoring opportunities, with full-back Paul Downes off-target with two penalty awards while Craig O’Hanlon was denied a try on 34 minutes when he was called back for a knock-on earlier in the move.
After a scoreless third quarter, Munsters’ gave themselves a lifeline when out-half Abrie Griesel sent O’Neill over. Downes converted and Con’s led was down to four points at 11-7.
The winners were also down to 13 players for a time in the final quarter due to two sin-binnings.
However, the holders, who had Munster prop John Ryan in their starting line-up, sealed victory when Quinlan kicked a decisive penalty goal from Munsters’ 10 metre line.
SCORERS: Young Munster: Darragh O’Neill try, Paul Downes con. Cork Constitution: Darren Sweetnam try, Tomas Quinlan three pens,
YOUNG MUNSTER: Paul Downes; Craig O’Hanlon, Mark Doyle, Jack Harrington, Darragh O’N eill, Abrie Griesel, Robert Guerin; Gavin Ryan, Ger Slattery, Evan Ryan, Tom Goggin, Darren Gallagher; Alan Ross, Diarmuid Dee, Benjamin Kilkenny. Replacements: David Begley, Paul Allen, Sean Rennison, Darren Ryan, Calvin Nash, Yasin Browne, Jack Lyons.
CORK CONSTITUTION: Darren Sweetnam; Aaron Spring, Liam O’Connell, Niall Kenneally, Robert Jermyn, Tomas Quinlan, Jason Higgins, Brendan Quinlan, max Abbott, John Ryan; Conor Kindregan, Brian Hayes; Graeme Lawlor, James Murphy, James Ryan. Replacements: Cathal O’Flaherty, Gerard Sweeney, Liam O’Connor, Sonny Dwyer, Darragh Lyons, Ryan Foley, James John O’Neill.
REFEREE: Eddie Hogan-O’Connell (Munster)