High Kings of Cashel move from junior to senior ranks with historic league title

Richmond 14 - Cashel 33

Richmond 14 - Cashel 33

Hail the high kings of Cashel! Cashel had perhaps the greatest day in the club’s long and illustrious history on Sunday last as they beat Richmond to join the senior ranks of Irish rugby.

From kick-off Cashel had a player sin binned for over enthusiasm as he tackled the Richmond receiver late. For the next ten minutes while Cashel were down to 14, Richmond battered at their defence. While Richmond didn’t score during the sin bin it did allow them to take control of the match. Over the next ten minutes they slotted over two penalties to go 6 nil ahead. Only a last gasp superb hand trip by Ollie McGlinchey denied Richmond an almost certain score. Richmond at this stage decided to play a territory game and started to kick for the corners. This played perfectly for Cashel as now they started getting ball and for their reward Daragh O’Brien got three long range shots at goal to put them into a 9 – 6 lead.

For the opening 15 minutes of the second half Richmond struggled to contain the Cashel men. Eventually the Richmond defence had to give in the 55th minute. Cashel were camped in the Richmond 22 when they got a scrum 15 meters out. Ed Leamy picked from the base of the scrum and drove for the line. He was well tackled and from the resulting ruck Ollie McGlinchey flashed the ball wide. Cian O’Connor took the ball at pace as he charged for the line. Cian had a lot to do as there were three men in front of him. He handed off the first and barged into the second two as they all crashed over the line. O’Brien again slotted over the conversion from a tight angle to put Cashel into a commanding 16-6 lead.

Richmond rallied superbly with an unconverted try and followed up with a penalty to leave the score 16-14 to Cashel. The match was on a knife edge as everyone both on and off the pitch knew that the next score was vital. Cashel dug deep and started to get their pack rumbling down the pitch. Eventually out–half Conor Quinlan decided to take three points and split the posts with an excellent drop goal.

This score really settled the side down as they again drove deep into Richmond’s half after a superb kick by O’Brien put the Richmond full back in all sorts of trouble as he was tackled over the line. This gave Cashel the five metre scrum. Ed Leamy again drove for the line but was held up short. Cashel probed a few times around the fringes but Richmond’s defence stood strong. Cashel needed a score as a try at this stage would win the match. Leamy spotted a gap and he drove through the ruck and crashed over the line as Cashel went 26-14 ahead. With the last play of the game Cashel gained possession with numbers out wide. Brendan O’Connor loitering on the wing received the ball to score untouched. O’Brien rounded off a fine performance with the boot with a conversion to leave the final score 33-14.

You could see what this win meant to the players and supporters as they invaded the pitch at the final whistle. The Cashel players proved to themselves and their supporters that they deserved to join the senior ranks so good was their second half performance. It would be unfair to really pick a man of the match as the Cashel team isn’t just about the 15 players on the pitch but about the 40 players that train every week. This win was for every player both past and present and the 15 men that took to the field knew this. Captain Brendan O’Connor expressed this as he thanked everyone in the club for their hard work over the years in getting Cashel to this place. In 2002 Cashel were at the bottom of the junior league. They knew then they were better than this and Sunday showed how right they were as the left junior rugby and joined the senior ranks. Six players that played last Sunday were on that team 10 years ago in Junior 3 rugby - Pat, Eoin and Cian from the O’Connor Clan, the mighty Philly Ryan, the sniping scrum half Ollie McGlinchey and the simply superb Ed Leamy. Cashel celebrated long into the night and it was fantastic to see the great Eddy “the Gander” Ryan join the players in Feehans Bar to celebrate. Eddy had three grandchildren on the pitch last Sunday as he told everyone in the pub that he joined Cashel RFC 60 years ago in 1951 and played 20 years and never won a thing!

Cashel RFC express their condolences to Micky McDonnell whose mother passed away last week. Mickey has been one of Cashel’s long term supporters and has been a fixture in the club for years snapping pictures from the side line.

Cashel Squad: Daragh O’Brien, Pat O’Connor, Brian Silke, Rory O’Connor, Kevin Quinlan, Conor Quinlan, Ollie McGlinchey, Jack Ryan, Robert Coates, Mick Kelly, Ed Horgan, Ailbe Devitt, Philly Ryan, John-Ed O’Connor, Brendan O’Connor, Cian O’Connor, Eoin O’Connor, Ed Leamy, Alan Guiry, Ian Stanley.