Cashel thirds and Clonmel seconds served up a very entertaining game in the Gleeson Cup.
Played at Clonmel in very dry cold conditions it had all that is good in rugby, good tries good kicking and an age range of at least 25 years from young Shane Murphy to the ageless Galway man Frank Fitzgerald still showing all the skill and determination he demonstrated when playing at the top level in the All Ireland league for St Marys many years ago.
Cashel came out the right side of a good contest. However it was Clonmel who drew first blood after Cashel dominated the early exchanges.
After 10 minutes defending they gained possession on half way and following a good passing movement scored under the posts. It was a well executed try.
The Cashel pack began to dominate and Niall Fitzgerald, Shane Nolan, Kieran Sweeney and Alan Cummins were carrying deep into Clonmel territory. Donal Davern was dominating the lineouts. Behind the scrum Shane Murphy was outstanding. What he lacks in weight he more than makes up it vision and guile.
The Cashel pack took the ball up to the Clonmel 22 Shane Murphy made a fine break, fed Donal Davern who put Robert Thornton in for a try in the corner. Thornton’s tackling was a feature of the game all day.
Eight minutes later Thornton again gained possession, passed to John Prior who fed Shane Murphy. Murphy made one of his trademark breaks and put Frank Kelleher in for a wonderful try under the posts. Another ageless worrier, Dermot O’Brien converted.
It was all Cashel at this stage and following much Cashel pressure by the pack Kieran Sweeny touched down. Dermot O’Brien converted from close to the touchline. Cashel then lost Donal Davern with an ankle injury. He was replaced by Frank Fitzgerald. Halftime score Clonmel 7 Cashel 19.
Early in the second half a break by Frank Fitzgerald resulted in a penalty to Cashel which Dermot O’Brien converted. At this stage both sides were playing good rugby.
Clonmel had their period of dominance and on 52 minutes their winger made a great run to score a fine individual try which was converted. The game was slipping slightly from Cashel and Manager John Brosnan was becoming animated but they rallied. Sean Walsh and Frank Kelleher in the centre tackled well all day and showed some fine touches. Philip Thornton and John Prior at full back did not put a foot wrong.
With fifteen minutes left Cashel introduced another up and coming player, Mullinahone’s Jack McCarthy. He made an immediate impact drove to the Clonmel line and was on hand to drive over for a great try when the ball was recycled. That was the last score of the game. Final score Clonmel 12 Cashel 27.
It was a fine win for an overall young Cashel team. They are showing great promise and if they keep up the good work they should end the season with silverware. Cashel supporters are encouraged to support this team for future games.
Cashel: C Sweeney, G Delany, S Nolan, F McCormack, K O’Donnell, D Davern, N Fitzgerald, A Cummins, S Murphy, D O,Brien, P Thornton, F Kelleher, S Walsh, R Thornton, J Prior, C O’Donnell, J Kelly, J McCarthy, D Cleary, E Carter, F Fitzgerald.
Cashel seconds were defeated by Thurles in the Mansergh Cup on Saturday night. It was their last game of the season and they have performed very well. Many players have put their hands up for consideration for next season and coach John Johnston has worked very hard with this team which has been weakened considerably by injuries to players on the first team.
The first team travels to Bective rangers next Saturday to play the final All Ireland League Game of the season at Donnybrook-kick off 2.30. Still in the top half of the league table a win would consolidate this position which is a major achievement as the club gained promotion from Division 3 of the Munster Junior League just ten years ago.