Cashel 20 Highfield 0
Cashel had their third straight win in the league against the much fancied Cork outfit Highfield to leave them top of Division 3 as the only undefeated team in the division.
It was obvious from the first ten minutes that Cashel were not going to engage in a slugfest with the big Highfield pack but move the point of attack at all times by continually varying their game. This resulted in Highfield’s pack having to be very mobile in getting to all of the rucks. Cracks started to show in Highfield’s defence and they started to concede multiple penalties. Against other teams Highfield might not have been punished to the extent Cashel did for their costly penalties. But Cashel with Daragh O’Brien have a top class kicker who kicked four penalties from four in the opening 30 minutes. Only one would have been consider a “gimmie” while the rest were from distance. This put Cashel into a well deserved 12 nil lead at half time.
They started the second half much the way they finished the first. Within ten minutes the boot of O’Brien put Cashel 15 nil ahead with another penalty. By this they Cashel were dominating all areas and it was only a matter of time before the opening try came. In the 65th minute they were again attacking into Highfield’s 22 down the right wing before they flashed the ball to the left. Centre Kieran Merrigan spotted a small gap and shot through the space, popped the ball to the onrushing Brendan O’Connor who took the ball into contact and offloaded to Kevin Quinlan who raced to the line to touch down in the corner.
For the remainder of the game Cashel probed the Highfield defence for a second try. In the 70th minute they came so close as Brian Silke rounding off a fine game ran a great line to split the Highfield midfield to touch down unopposed under the posts. Unfortunately for Brian the pass he received was marginally forward and he will have to wait another day before he gets his first league try for Cashel.
This was a very accomplished performance from Cashel. From 1 – 15 they ran Highfield ragged and never let the Cork side settle into a purely forwards game where the two packs would ruck and maul their way down the centre of the pitch.
This was by far Cashel’s best performance of the year. There was very little one could say negatively on their performance. Again the defence was superb. All the players are 100% confident in their defensive system. On Saturday they proofed how effective they were. The never gave Highfield a glimpse of the line, their discipline was excellent, as Cashel for the first time this year played 80 minutes without a single yellow. They also only conceded one kickable penalty.
Cashel 18 Highfield 9
Cashel seconds also beat Highfield on Saturday last in the senior league. In the 35th minute Ailbe Devitte secured a 5m lineout. Cashel went for the push over as they drove Highfield back. Phily Ryan emerged from the bottom of the maul with his hands on the ball as Cashel scored their first try. Rory O’Connor converted to everyone’s surprise from the touch line to put Cashel 7 nil ahead. Just on the half time whistle Highfield got their first points via a penalty leaving the half time score 7-3. The second half went much the same as both teams crashed into each other. Highfield were first on the scoreboard from another penalty. Cashel quickly responded with a penalty soon afterwards themselves. Again Highfield responded as they drove forward. For their efforts they slotted over another penalty to put the score 10-9 with 15 minutes to play. In the 68th minute Cashel provided the move of the match as they swept down the pitch on the blind side. Mikey O’Connor drew his opposite number at full back before releasing winger Sean Walsh who raced the final 30 yards to the line. This put Cashel 15-9 ahead. Five minutes later Cashel sealed the win with a final penalty from Rory O’Connor to leave the full time score 18 -9.
This was another great performance by Cashel. Every player had to dig deep for this win. Cashel seconds haven’t really fired this season as injuries have decimated the squad. For the first time this season coach John Johnson had virtually a full panel to pick from.
Overall it was a very good day. Both coaches couldn’t be happier with their teams performances and are going to have some serious headaches regarding selection as so many players are pushing for spots across both teams.