Cashel taught a hard lesson in Banbridge where performance deserved better

Banbridge 25 Cashel 12

Banbridge 25 Cashel 12

It is no consolation to the Cashel players that they contributed to a wonderful game of rugby at Rifle park, Banbridge on Saturday last. Banbridge were sitting proudly on top of Division 2A League with four bonus point wins and they were certainly gunning for Cashel after last year’s shootout at Spafield when Cashel won 16-12 in a closely contested match.

Both teams were promoted last season and everybody was anxious to see who had made the most progress. The league table suggested Banbridge. In the first minute Pat O’Connor fielded a high ball brilliantly and from the ensuing ruck Alan O’Donnell took it up the middle, he was fouled and Pat O’Connor slotted the penalty. Cashel were taking the game to their hosts and from another ruck the ball went to Conor Quinlan who dropped a neat goal. However there was a heavy cost for Cashel as their talisman Ed Leamy suffered a neck injury and had to leave the field. It was a cruel blow to the visitors as it disrupted the lineout.

However his replacement John Ed O’Connor is no bad substitute to have and he took over in the backrow. Banbridge made a rare trip to the Cashel half but the defence held strong and the ball was cleared. Cashel were totally on top at this stage and they continued to attack. On 21 minutes Michael Hickey was caught just on the line when it was thought he was over for a try. Two minutes later they were over again but the referee did not see a try. He awarded a penalty to Cashel which Pat O’Connor converted.

Cashel continued to dominate and it appeared that it be only a matter of time before they got a try. Unfortunately they could not breach the very good Banbridge defence. On the 35th minute the forwards were driving up the middle. A Banbride player infringed, he was sin binned and Pat O’Conner kicked a fine penalty from the 10 meter line. On the stroke of half time Banbridge attacked down the right wing. A Cashel player attempted to intercept. He was deemed to have deliberately knocked on the ball. He too was sent to the bin and Banbridge kicked the penalty. The half time whistle went. Cashel who had played extremely well were only 12 3 ahead when it could have been 26-0.

Banbrige upped the pace in the second half and after 4 minutes they were awarded a penalty which they kicked to make it 12-6. The game at this stage was going slightly in favour of Banbrigde and they were rewarded on 56 minutes when poor defending allowed them break from half way. Their speedy left winger got possession and scored under the posts. Four minutes later their right winger got possession and ran fifty meters. A great covering tackle by Kevin Quinlan saved the day. For a ten minute spell midway through the second half the Banbrige pack got totally on top in the scrum and pushed Cashel off their own ball. However the Cashel scrum revived and they did the same to Banbridge but they could not get out of the danger zone.

On 70 minutes Banbridge were awarded a penalty. They kicked to the corner. They threw to the prop at the front of the lineout and he had a clear run to the line for a try. It was not converted and at 18-12 there was still the possibility of a win or at least a bonus point for Cashel.

True to form Cashel responded. The tired bodies rallied and the ball was brought to half way. When a team is chasing a game risks are taken. There was a potential overlap. A long pass was thrown to the centre of the field but it was read by the Banbride centre who intercepted and ran from half way to score under the posts - 25-12. It was against the run of play but Cashel tried one more time. They brought the ball to the Banbridge line but it was knocked on and the chance of a bonus point was lost.

The final score did not in any way reflect to tightness of the game. The Cashel team were shell shocked and they will wonder how first of all they lost the game and secondly how the bonus point was not secured. But sport is cruel and it boiled down to three mistakes by Cashel from which Banbridge capitalised and scored three tries. This Cashel team is learning all the time and there are still 10 games left. It must be said that the pack played extremely well particularly in the first half. The lapse at the front of the lineout was costly. The backs were sharp and the defence was good except for one slip. There is little one can do about an intercept. Old Wesley are next up in two weeks time in Dublin.

Cashel: D Lambe, C O’Donnell, H Stanley, S Walsh, P Ryan, E Leamy, B O’Connor, M Cross, M Hickey, C Quinlam, R O’Connor, A O’Donnell, G Boland, K Quinlan, P O’Connor, M Kelly, J E O’Connor, A Kelleher, R Mullane, A Downey.

Fergal McCormack grabs two tries in victory

Munster Junior 2 League

Cashel 22 Waterford City 6

The weather in Ireland is at best unpredictable and the contrast between Saturday and Sunday proved this as Cashel’s third team kicked off in wet, cold, windy and miserable weather.

Ken Quinlan was getting his first start but the attendance from Moyne was not in any way inflated. Cashel played against the elements in the first half but they made the better start. From the kick-off they were quickly on the attack and after some clever recycling Sean Walsh dived over for a try.

Waterford City then attacked and kicked a penalty. Cashel once again took control in the pack and as it was not a day for running rugby they did the basics right. On 15 minutes Fergal McCormack scored a good try and 7 minutes later Cormac O’Donnell scored a similar try. This young prop is making a habit of this as he scored a similar try for Cashel’s seconds against Dolphin on Sunday last when he came on as a substitute.

On the 35th minute Brian Anglim had to leave the field with an ankle injury and it is hoped it will not keep him out of action for too long.

Half Time score Cashel 15 Waterford city 6.

Waterford City were quickly on the attack in the second half and on the 45th minute they kicked a penalty. For the next 20 minutes there was parity and both sides battled well in the conditions. On the 25th minute Fergal McCormack barged over for his second try after a good Cashel maul.

The maul was utilised very well by the Cashel pack in which Sean Ryan, Fergal McCormack and Cormac O’Donnell stood out. In the backline Sean Walsh took his try well and the ageless Johnny Maher played well. But what about Dermot O’Brien, still playing when most of his peers were by the fire with their slippers on such a miserable day!

Cashel: C O’Donnell, K O’Donnell, K Quinlan, R Barrett, J Kelly, F McCormack, D Davern,S Ryan, D O’Meara, D O’Brien, S Walsh, J Ryan, B Anglim, J McGinley, J Maher,