Cashel and Muskerry played a cracking round of 16 game in the Munster Junior Cup at floodlit Spafield on Thursday night last.
In a game that had everything, Cashel edged ahead at the death after extra time.
Muskerry broke the deadlock with a penalty after 27 minutes but Ross Mullane brought Cashel level three minutes later with a penalty on the 10 metre line. Both teams had big men in their packs and the collisions were not for the faint hearted.
Fionn McSwiney, Brendan O’Connor, Kieran Murphy and the Crosse brothers Michael and Brendan were showing well for Cashel. Astute kicking by Aidan Barron was keeping Cashel on the attack. Muskerry went 3 points ahead with a penalty on 36 minutes and this seemed to rally Cashel. The pack attacked from the kickoff and went through the phases. The ball went from side to side and when Ross Mullane gained possession he broke the tackle, raced 30 metres and crashed over for a very hard earned try. Mullane converted leaving Cashel ahead 10-6 at half time.
The second half did not disappoint either as the level of intensity did not drop. Muskerry missed a penalty after 43 minutes. Both sides regularly cleared their lines with good kicks and the lineouts were keenly contested with Cashel hooker Tommy Flynn hitting the jumper each time. With 10 minutes left Cashel made a drive into Muskerry territory, and were awarded a penalty which Mullane kicked to put them 7 points ahead. Deep in injury time Muskerry were awarded a number of penalties which put them deep into Cashel territory. The pressure eventually told in the 87th and they scored a converted try to tie the game at 13-all.
Both teams did their running repairs and prepared for 20 minutes of extra time. Tired bodies were pushed to the limit as in turn each team tried to get the upper hand.
Half way through the first half Cashel put the pressure on, were awarded a penalty on half way and kicked to the corner. From the lineout a ruck formed, Kieran Murphy picked and crashed over for a very valuable try. The conversion was missed and the fat was still very much in the fire.
Muskerry turned up the heat in the second half of extra time and pinned Cashel in their own half. Only a high tackle count and bravery kept them out as they sought the all important try. With a minute left in the game Cashel gained possession and cleared their lines. Muskerry ran the ball from the lineout but quick thinking Patrick O’Connor intercepted and ran from half way to score under the posts. Mullane converted to leave Cashel 25-13 ahead at the final whistle.
It was a much tighter game that the score suggests. Both teams were a credit to their clubs and deserve special mention for playing the game mid week to facilitate a fixtures pileup.
Cashel now await the quarter final draw.
Cashel: K Sweeney, T Flynn, C O’Donnell, B Crosse, F McSwiney, M Crosse, K Murphy, B O’Connor, A Barron, C Quinlan, M Hickey, R Mullane, A Wallace, P O’Connor, M O’Connor, F McCormack, J McCarthy, S Murphy, B Moloney, C Morrissey.