Cashel traveled to Nenagh on Sunday to play the Garryowen Cup semi final.
Cashel were the holders but with eleven first choice players absent due to injury it was always going to be a tough task and so it turned out to be, losing 22-3.
The weather took a real turn for the worse and the game was played in wet, cold and windy conditions. However the Nenagh pitch is dry and the under foot conditions were good but the ball was like a bar of soap. It was not a day for the “fine day supporters” who stayed at home but the few hardy regulars were loud in their support for the efforts of the team.
The Nenagh pack outweighed the Cashel eight and they used this to their advantage. Nenagh had the wind in the first half and took the game to Cashel who to their credit were holding their own. Six minutes into the game a Nenagh centre gained possession on the Cashel ten metre line. He raced through five Cashel players before scoring under the posts. The inexperience in the Cashel backline was clear but they did not lack courage and determination.
The pack was also brave and they took on their larger opponents at every opportunity. Kieran Murphy and Cormack O’Donnell were prominent but Murphy had to leave the field after twenty minutes with a knee injury.
Nenagh used the famous “choke tackle” to great effect - it is not pretty but it is effective when playing against inexperienced teams, and gained Nenagh at least six turnovers during the game. On the twentieth minute the Nenagh outhalf dropped a fine goal to put them 10-nil ahead.
Their scrum half was also using the box kick very cleverly. The Cashel pack continued to have a go and they were rewarded on thirty minutes with a penalty which John Prior slotted confidently in difficult conditions. Half time score 10-3.
Cashel had the wind in the second half and it was hoped they would use it to gain field position. Nenagh defended well and it was extremely difficult to break down their defence. Paddy Maher came on for Cashel and he, Cormack O’Donnell and Kieran Gleeson fought hard to make ground.
The Nenagh outhalf took a leaf out of Conor Murray’s book and kicked everything. Half way through the second half he put a high kick up to the half way line. The ball was caught by a Cashel defender but he was swallowed up by the Nenagh forwards. The ball was hacked forward and Nenagh had men over and scored a try against the run of play. This score put them 15-3 ahead and there was no way back for Cashel.
They tried very hard but they did not have the physical strength to make a breakthrough. In the dying seconds of the game the ball was kicked into the Cashel 22. Both a Cashel player and a Nenagh player kicked the ball which went into touch. Nenagh took a quick throw and with the Cashel players waiting for a decision the referee allowed play continue and Nenagh ran in unopposed to score under the posts.
It was clear the referee did not know who put the ball into touch and he should have waited for the touch judge to make his decision. The score counted and the game ended. Final score 22-3. This flattered Nenagh and did not do justice to the Cashel effort.
Cashel: M O’Connor, J Prior, A Wallace, J Ryan, R Thornton, M Golden, M Hickey, K Murphy, N Fitzgerald, K Gleeson, F McCormack, A O’Dwyer, C O’Donnell, T Flynn, I Stanley, P Maher, K Sweeney, A Cummins, G Delany, B Anglim.
The Evans Cup game between Cashel and Kilfeacle scheduled for Friday night last was postponed and will be refixed for a later date.