Cashel kicked off their Junior Cup campaign on Sunday last with a very hard fought victory over a spirited Charleville side at Spafield.
Conditions were good with a slight wind blowing across the field.
Cashel were missing a few “eligible” players and for long periods in the first half it looked as if it would prove costly.
Charleville were well organised and from the off they put pressure on Cashel. Their lineout was good and they were putting the pressure on the Cashel scrum.
With 10 minutes gone they mauled from a 10 metre lineout and scored a try which they converted with a good kick. Four minutes later they went further ahead with a fine penalty and the Cashel team, to say the least, looked rusty from lack of match practice.
The penalty count was going against Cashel and coaches Philly Ryan and James Hannigan were getting frustrated with the basic errors.
Then it all changed on 27 minutes. Patrick O’Connor ran from deep inside his own half, linked up with Kieran Murphy who brought play to the 22 where Michael Hickey took it up and gave the try scoring pass to Andy Kelleher who finished with a well worked try and conversion.
It was the spark the Cashel team needed. The score remained at 10-7 at half time. A feature of the first half was the excellent tackling of Jack McCarthy and the passion of Tommy Flynn.
The half time team talk worked and Cashel increased the intensity from the start of the second half. They went through the phases. Kieran Murphy gathered on the 22 and forced his way over for a fine try - he was the outstanding player on the field.
On 54 minutes Cashel were awarded a penalty 22 metres out on the left. Quick thinking Andy Kelleher launched a fine kick to the right wing where Kieran Murphy gathered an scored a good try - his second - to put Cashel 17-10 ahead.
With 20 minutes left a Cashel player was binned, harshly it was thought, but it weakened the Cashel pack. Charleville seeing the opportunity put the pressure on but the the Cashel defence was good and centres Jack Ryan and substitute Robert Thornton put in some fine tackles.
Two of Robert’s upset promising Charleville attacks.
Young Shane Murphy came on with 5 minutes left and immediately made an impact. He gained possession 30 meters out, set up a good ruck from which the forwards mauled and Josh Moynan touched down for a fine forwards try. This was the final score in a hard fought entertaining game. President Patsy O’Connor, in his post match interview, praised both teams for such an entertaining encounter and praised the Cashel players for coming from 10 points down to win. This team has potential and with a little more match practice can make progress in this great competition.
Cashel - J McCarthy, I Stanley, C O’Donnell, J Moynan, J Ryan, T Flynn, M Cross, K Murphy, M Hickey, A Kelleher, P O’Connor, R Joyce, J Ryan, M O’Connor, R Mullane, R Thornton, S Murphy.
On Saturday next Cashel meet Old Wesley RFC in the next round of the All Ireland League at 2 30 at Spafield. On Friday night, February 28, there is a fund raising table quiz at the clubhouse at 8 30. Please support as it promises to be a good night.