Cashel scrum half Josh Pickering gets his pass away against Old Crescent in the AIL Division 2A game at Spafield on Saturday last.
ALL IRELAND RUGBY LEAGUE DIVISION 2A
CASHEL 34 OLD CRESCENT 22
Round three of the All Ireland league brought table toppers Old Crescent to Spafield on Saturday last.
Cashel started like men possessed with the pack taking the ball forward and it was clear they were going to bring a higher level of intensity to proceedings. After two minutes they were awarded a penalty which Luke Duffy converted. Crescent settled the ship and moved down the field with their backs showing some deft touches. They levelled the game six minutes later with a penalty. Back came Cashel, a penalty was kicked to the corner, Fearghall O’Donoghue soared in the lineout, the forwards went through the phases before releasing the backs. Alan McMahon wormed his way through a number of tackles to score a touchdown which Luke Duffy converted.
Both teams ran the ball at every opportunity and both defences put in the tackles. On 16 minutes Old Crescent were awarded a penalty 15m out and took a quick tap and scored an opportunistic converted try to level the game at 10 points each. Back came Cashel again with the forwards now on top and driving into the Crescent half. James Ryan won the ball in the lineout, Ed Leamy looped around and fed Niall Fitzgerald who scored. James Ryan was involved again in 28 minutes when he blocked a Crescent clearance inside their try line resulting in a Cashel scrum. The scrum was set twice and as Cashel drove for the line Crescent infringed and conceded a penalty try.
Half time score Cashel 22 Old Crescent 10.
Niall Fitzgerald was among the tryscorers for Cashel in last weekend's AIL Division 2A win over Old Crescent
With three tries in the bag and a 12 point lead it looked good for Cashel. The second half commenced with Crescent on the attack. Conor Cashman put in another try -saving tackle for Cashel and Luke Duffy cleared their lines with a good kick to touch. The Cashel forwards once again brought play into the Crescent twenty two. Two penalties were awarded, they opted for scrums and drove to the Crescent line where another penalty try was awarded. At 29-10 the try bonus point was achieved with thirty minutes left on the clock. Five minutes later the Cashel forwards drove the Crescent scrum from the ten metre line to the twenty two. They were awarded a penalty which they took quickly, Ed Leamy drove for the line but was held up. Crescent were awarded a penalty and cleared their lines. Cashel ran a penalty from half way on sixty minutes but a pass was intercepted and Crescent were in for an unconverted try. Two minutes later Crescent attacked again and Paudie Leamy was on hand with a good tackle. It was breathtaking rugby and kept supporters on their toes.
Then the game took a bizarre turn and in a two- minute spell Cashel conceded a number of penalties, received three yellow cards and were reduced to 12 men. With a huge numerical advantage Crescent came at them in waves, running the ball at every opportunity. With eight minutes remaining they were in for another converted try to make it a one score game and it looked like Cashel would snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It was then the men of Cashel stood up to be counted. With seven in the pack and five backs they held their own in the scrum. They tackled every thing that moved, held their line intact and edged up field. Crescent conceded a penalty, Cashel kicked to the corner and set up their trademark maul. They drove Crescent over their line and Josh Pickering touched down for an invaluable try. This finished off the Crescent effort and Cashel held out for a 34 points to 22 victory.
There were some excellent performances for Cashel, particularly in the pack where Kieran Ryan, Niall Fitzgerald, James Kendrick and Michael Kelly, when he came on, were outstanding in the front row. Fearghall O’Donoghue enhanced his growing reputation, this time in the second row where Richard Moran also excelled. Brendan Ryan and James Ryan in the back row were outstanding but the man who stood out above all on the field was Ed Leamy-he had one of his best games in a Cashel jersey. The back line of Josh Pickering, Aidan Barron, Paudie Leamy, Conor Cashman, Alan McMahon, Richard Kingston and Luke Duffy were very solid in defence. McMahon and Pickering took their tries well.
Needless to say Cashel were delighted to get the bonus point win which could have been snatched from them when the yellow cards started to fly.
Cashel team: K Ryan, N Fitzgerald, J Kendrick, R Moran, F O’Donoghue, B Ryan, E Leamy, J Ryan (c), J Pickering, A Barron, P Leamy, C Cashman, A McMahon, R Kingston, L Duffy, M Kelly, S O’Connell, B Crosse, K Gleeson, O O’Sullivan.