Cashel go top of the AIL Division 2A
All-Ireland League Division 2A
OLD CRESCENT 20 CASHEL 34
At Rosbrien, Limerick, on Friday night last, Cashel took on Old Crescent in round two of the All Ireland League.
Conditions were perfect and the atmosphere electric, made more so by the large crowd in attendance.
Crescent were an unknown quantity as they had won Division 2B last season and had not played Cashel for a number of seasons.
They had also beaten Queens University in their first game.
It was clear from the start that they are very comfortable in this division and while Cashel came away with a five try bonus point win, they had to fight all the way for the win in a most competitive and entertaining game.
Cashel opened in impressive style. A penalty for a high tackle was kicked to the corner. From the lineout the forwards went through the phases, then a long pass to the wing from Darragh Lyons found Frank Kelleher who touched down for a try which Jonty Rae converted.
This settled Cashel and they continued to dominate for the next number of minutes.
On ten minutes Crescent were awarded a scrum forty metres out. The ball was swept swiftly through the hands and Crescent equalised with a converted try.
Cashel's pack were dominating field position and were almost over on sixteen minutes. Jonty Rae put them three points ahead with a penalty.
Three minutes later a moment of brilliance from Richard Kingston produced a wonderful individual try. Fielding a high clearance forty metres out he saw a gap and ran through the defence to score under the posts-Rae converted.
With nineteen minutes gone and ten points ahead it appeared Casehl would win the game easily.
However it would be a further thirty minutes before they scored again.
Crescent began to gain field position. On twenty eight minutes they gained possession on half way and scored an excellent converted try.
Four minutes later Rae hit the post with a Cashel penalty. With a most competitive first half coming to an end Crescent lost a player to a red card and this reduced their effectiveness. Half time score Old Crescent 14 Cashel 17.
Crescent leveled the game with a penalty two minutes into the second half. Then Cashel began to take command.
The back row of Ed Leamy, James Ryan and Michael Casey were outstanding throughout the game and were ably assisted by second rows Keith Melbourne and Idris Rquibi.
The front row of Cathal Ryan, Niall Fitzgerald and Michael Kelly were as solid as the Rock.
Twenty two minutes into the second half Cashel's domination of possession finally paid off. They won a lineout ten metres out and pounded the Crescent line. A quick pass went to Alan McMahon and he made no mistake to score under the posts. Rae converted.
Back came Crescent and with eight minutes remaining they were awarded a penalty which narrowed the gap to just four points.
From the kickoff Crescent were penalised, Cashel kicked to the corner, set up an excellent maul and drove over the line. Niall Fitzgerald touched down to add another try to his impressive haul to date. This secured the try bonus point.
With time running out Aidan McDonald put the result beyond doubt with a try which Jonty Rae converted. Final score Old Crescent 20 Cashel 34.
The dominance of the pack ensured victory but the backs also contributed to an excellent win. Aidan Barron was excellent at scrum half and Darragh Lyons distributed well.
Frank Kelleher, Richard Kingston, Aidan McDonald and Alan McMahon took their tries well. Jonty Rae kicked well and Jason Newton was solid in defence.
An excellent win away for Cashel against a team that will secure a lot of points as the season goes on.
It places Cashel at the top of the table with full points.
Next Saturday Highfield visit Cashel in a league game that also doubles as a Munster senior Cup quarter final.
There is a lot at stake and it promises to be an enthralling fixture.
Cashel (1-20) - C Ryan, N Fitzgerald, M Kelly, K Melbourne, I Rquibi, J Ryan, E Leamy, M Casey, A Barron, D Lyons, F Kelleher, J Newton, A McDonald, R Kingston, J Rae, A McMahon, T Anglim, I Miljak, C Cashman, D Lambe.