Cork Constitution v’s Clontarf

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Cork Con 22 – Clontarf 29

Clontarf rumbled  back to winning ways in Temple Hill on Saturday against a new look Cork Con side who were nursing a 5 game winning streak which has them comfortably in the top 4 of the AIL.
Having lost many of their well known names Con are rebuilding with youth and a beefed up coaching ticket. It showed in the early stages as the home side played a simple compact game based on defending line outs and using the highly educated boot of our half Moynihan for territory. It took Clontarf the first quarter to put more variation into their line out to avoid the athletic leaping of the home second row who frustrated the visitors and cut off a major supply of attacking ball.
It seems teams are now doing their homework and have decided to challenge the throw rather than the grim prospect of challenging the maul. Having said that, Clontarf’s first surge at the home line resulted in a home yellow and a penalty for a maul infringement which in anyone else’s book would have been a penalty try.
Con cancelled the penalty after Tarf lost control on exit from their 22 and as the game settled into a pattern Cons survival depended on messing the Tarf line out. Unfortunately, when your dealing with height, height , and his brother, more height, you have too many options to cover and it wasn’t long before a long throw saw the visitors maul tumble over for a penalty try which denied Donnellan the points as he was over and putting another notch on his bed post. Con hit back after some sloppy defending allowed them into the Tarf 22 and when they followed up straight away with another, Tarf knew they needed to up the intensity. Half time score was 15 10 to the home side.
The second half brought more continuity to the Tarf play and Con were put to the pin of their collar to hang on. In the process they lost their No 6 to a second yellow and red card for a deliberate knock on. Clontarf moved to the, now  functioning, line out and Tony Ryan got in again. At 15 all Tarf looked to be moving into the ascendancy but trouble again at a line out saw Con back in the Tarf 22 where they managed to burrow over after some desperate ball retention.
Tarf came again and after great work down the left worked another line out maul for Dylan to get a deserved touch down. So, at 22 all it was hearts a thumping as we moved into the final 10. Crucially, Moynihan missed a penalty which would have given Con something to defend and when Tarf poured into the home 22 in waves Con couldn’t hang on and Courtney scored untouched under the posts after bullocking runs from, the bullocks in the pack.
That finished the scoring as Clontarf played it out to the finish. A bonus point win which was crucial as it broke the losing trend and secured second position. We welcome Garryowen to Castle Avenue next Saturday for the last game before the Christmas break.