Cashel’s excellent run in the Munster Senior Seconds League came to an end at Coonagh, Limerick, on Sunday last when John Bob Ryan led his team out for the semi final against Shannon - Cashel’s first time in the semi final.
It is always difficult to travel away and Cashel came up against a much bigger pack on Sunday but came away with their heads held high as they gave everything they had to the cause before going down 20-5 in a most entertaining game.
From the kickoff Cashel took the game to Shannon with the pack going through the phases. They were highly organised and after 7 minutes Kieran Gleeson crashed over in the corner for an excellent try the build up to which most of the Cashel players were involved. There was no sign of nerves as they took the game to their more illustrious opponents.
The Shannon backs were fleet of foot and five minutes later their full back weaved his way over for a try which they converted to go 7-5 ahead. It was a try that should have been defended better.
Then on 20 minutes Shannon kicked a penalty. Cashel kept at their task but could not break down the Shannon defence. Five minutes before half time while Shannon were going through the phases, Cathel Ryan injured his ankle and had to be replaced, Shannon were awarded a penalty which they converted to leave the half time score 13-5.
At half time Cashel were still in the game but after 5 minutes a chip through by the Shannon winger bounced up kindly for him and he raced in under the posts for a converted try which put Shannon 20-5 ahead.
It looked bad for Cashel at this stage but they did not give up and from there to the end we had a most competitive game.
After 60 minutes Cashel lost Brian Silke with a hip injury. He had boosted his tackle count enormously before leaving the field.
He was followed shortly afterwards by Andrew Wallace who damaged his hamstring. These three injuries weakened Cashel’s cause.
However they continued to take the game to Shannon. Wave after wave of Cashel effort was repulsed and their enormous energy kept them going to the very end but they could not add a deserved score before the final whistle. Final score Shannon 20 Cashel 5. The concession of two poorly defended tries -14 points - was crucial to the final result.
There were some excellent performances with Cormac O’Donnell, Cathal Ryan, Kieran Gleeson, Paddy Maher and Michael Crosse particularly good in the pack. Ollie McGlinchey was a busy as a bee at out half and Richard Joyce and Brian Silke were very prominent in the back line. William English fielded well at full back.
Cashel: I Stanley, C Ryan, C O’Donnell, K Gleeson, J Ryan, P Maher, M Crosse, J Moynan, M Hickey, O McGlinchey, A Wallace, R Joyce, B Silke, R Maher, W English, T Flynn, J Keating, E Laffan, M O’Connor.