Round 10 of Division 2A of the All Ireland League took place on Saturday with Cashel taking on De La Salle Palmerstown at Spafield. The Cashel backline had a new look with Brian Silke unable to train due to work commitments, Conor Quinlan came in at centre with Ollie McGlinchey holding his place at number 10. Early on Michael Cross and Cian O’Donnell were very prominent and carried ball after ball into DlSP territory. Their defence was good and there was no easy way through for scores.
On 15 minutes Pat O’Connor put Cashel ahead with a penalty. The game was evenly matched with both teams enjoying spells of superiority. It soon became clear that it would be a low scoring game. On 32 minutes the DLSP forwards were pressing. They were awarded a penalty on the Cashel 22. For some unknown reason the Cashel players turned their backs on the ball. The DLSP number 8 took a quick tap and scored a soft try which was converted to put them ahead.
The Cashel backs were trying to run the ball but not making much headway. gradually they worked the ball into the opposition 22 where they were awarded a penalty. They kicked to the corner and won the lineout from which they set up a good maul. Brendan O’Connor drove for the line and scored a fine try. This left Cashel 8-7 ahead at half time.
From the tightness of the huddle at half time it would appear that some harsh words were spoken by the Cashel coaching staff. They totally dominated the second half every place except on the score board. Ten minutes into the half normal format resumed in the back line. Silke came in at centre, Quinlan moved to out half and McGlinchey moved to scrum half. Michael Kelly came on at hooker to replace Cian O’Donnell who had a fine game. The backs began to move more fluidly and they put a few passing movements together.
The battle up front at this stage was intense. Brendan and John Ed O’Connor were going well in the back row with second rows Sean Walsh and Philly Ryan. Cross was still going strong and his JCB-like work at the breakdown is legendary.
With 13 minutes left Cashel were awarded a penalty in front of the posts. Unbelievably they took a quick tap, were turned over and a chance to go four points ahead was lost. Ross Mullane came onto the wing in place of Rory O’Connor, Kieran Gleeson came in to make his AIL debut in the second row and Emmett Hall came into the front row.
With three minutes left Mcglinchey threw a long pass to Brian Silke who ran to the DLSP 22, he fixed his man and passed to Ross Mullane who beat his man to score a try which Pat O’Connor converted. This put Cashel 15-7 ahead. DLSP did not give up and came back into the Cashel half but time ran out and a relieved Cashel team headed to the dressing room.
It was not vintage rugby but Cashel will be pleased with the win. With 10 games gone and 5 to go it is a good time to take stock. Cashel lie in 7th position with 7 wins and three losses. Promotion may be a bridge too far but this team is ambitious and will fight all the way for a high finishing position. They travel to Belfast next week to take on Queens University in round 11.
Cashel: H Stanley, C O’Donnell, D Lambe, S Walsh, P Ryan, M Cross, J E O’Connor, B O’Connor, A Kelleher, O McGlinchey, C Quinlan, G Boland, K Quinlan, R O’Connor, P O’Connor, E Hall, M Kelly, K Gleeson, B Silke, R Mullane,
Munster Senior Seconds League
Cashel 22 Midleton 6
In very windy conditions at Spafield on Sunday Cashel took on Midleton in the Munster Senior Seconds League. Cashel were captained by Alan O’Donnel and Midleton by his great friend, former Cashel club captain, John Silke. Cashel had not beaten Midleton in this competition in three previous encounters. This changed on Sunday in a well contested game.
Cashel showed from the kick off that they meant business and the forwards started in a whirlwind taking the ball deep into Midleton territory from where it was passed to Brian Silke. Silke went straight for the line, beat a tackle and scored under the posts. He converted the try. Two minutes later Midleton responded with a penalty. The battle of the forwards was tough and some big hits went in all day. On the 20th minute Cashel pushed Midleton off the ball in a scrum, Kieran Murphy picked and scored a try.
Midleton were awarded a penalty and narrowed the gap to 12-6 with the kick. On the stroke of half time after a fine forwards drive Darren McGrath fed Silke who drew his man and put Andrew Wallace in for a fine try in the corner. Wallace did not have much room to work with but he used it well. Silke narrowly missed the conversion from the touch line. It was not a day for kickers due to the strong wind. Half time score 17-6.
Midleton, playing against the wind in the second half did not lie down. They had a good lineout and used the maul to good effect. They also put pressure on the Cashel scrum. Cashel could not break them down and to say the least it was not a memorable half. Cashel had plenty of possession but did not utilise the backs at all, choosing instead to pick from the back of the scrum and take it on in the forwards . With two minutes left and play on the Midleton 22 the ball squirted into the air, Michael Kelly reacted catching the ball and passing to Darren McGrath who raced to the corner to score Cashel’s fourth try and earn the home team a bonus point win. It keeps Cashel in the hunt for a quarter final place.
Cashel: I Stanley, M Kelly, C O’Donnell, K Gleeson, F McCormack, T Flynn, N Fitzgerald, K Murphy, D McGrath, B Silke, A O’Donnell, J Ryan, A Wallace, M O’Connor, R Mullane, G Delany, J Kelly, K Sweeney, R Thornton, G O’Sullivan.