For the third All Ireland League game in a row, Cashel faced the second placed team in the league and once again turned in a very good performance in a tight but very entertaining game at Spafield on Saturday last, winning 18-14.
The wind and rain of the previous days threatened the game but once again the pitch was in excellent condition and the weather was kind.
Cashel were missing Brendan Oâ€™Connor who was on coaching duty with the Irish Under 18 rugby team. He was replaced by Kieran Murphy. Jack Ryan came into the centre to replace Cedric Unholtz who was ill. Barnhall had the wind advantage in the first half but it was Cashel who started well and it was clear that there would be no running rugby in the first half.
They were defending well but found it difficult to get field position against the wind. There was one period in the half from 20 to 25 minutes when Barnhall gained possession and bombarded the Cashel defence but it held strong and the danger was repelled. It must be said that the forwards worked their socks off in the tight in that first half and the backs mowed down everything that moved. It looked that they would have held Barnhall scoreless until half time. However with 3 minutes left in the half Barnhall had a scrum 10 metres out. A mixup in the Cashel defensive allowed them in for an easy converted try. Half Time score Cashel Nil Barnhall 7.
Cashel had wind advantage in the second half and the commenced proceedings in a very determined mood. In the first minute John Ed Oâ€™Connor gained possession on the 10 metre line and passed to Brian Silke who brought possession deep inside the Barnhall 22. He set up the ruck and the forwards drove on giving clean possession to Aidan Barron who fed Pat Oâ€™Connor who put winger Darragh Oâ€™Brien in for a try in the right corner. Cashel were now back in the ball game and 6 minutes later Oâ€™Brien kicked a penalty to put them ahead for the first time.
Cashel now had the upper hand and the forwards were putting the phases together. Second rows Ailbe Devitt and Sean Walsh were dominating the lineouts and carrying well. The back row of John Ed Oâ€™Connor, Ed Leamy and Kieran Murphy were outstanding. Murphy is playing very well since his return from injury. On the 54th minute a penalty was kicked to the corner. The Cashel forwards mauled for the line but the stubborn Barnhall defence stood firm. Cashel continued to drive and prop Danny Lambe grounded for a very important try.
With Barnhall playing against the wind one would have expected their heads to drop but they are not in second place for nothing and with 20 minutes left they went on the attack and only very stout defending saved the Cashel line. There is a turning point in every game and it went Cashelâ€™s way with 10 minutes left. From a lineout on half way Cashel captain Sean Walsh gained possession, a gap appeared and he ran for the Barnhall line scoring a very important try. At 18-7 in Cashelâ€™s favour they went for the bonus point but Barnhall had other ideas. With 5 minutes left on the clock they worked the ball up the field. They were awarded a scrum and their outhalf caught the Cashel defence napping and scored a fine individual try.