Cashel travelled to Division 1A club Young Munster on Saturday to play a first round Munster Senior Cup tie at their famous ground, Green Fields.
This is a bastion of senior rugby in Limerick where famous Lions Tom Cliffod and Paul O’Connell learned their trade.
It has not been a happy hunting ground for Cashel as they lost two Munster Junior Cup semi finals to Cork Con and UL Bohemians at the same ground in recent years - both teams went on to win the finals.
All this changed on Saturday as Cashel came away with a famous 27-18 victory.
The Young Munster pack was huge and they used this physical superiority as their main weapon.
Cashel played against a strong breeze in the first half and Young Munster kicked long in the early minutes.
From a lineout on the Cashel 22 they mauled successfully to score a good try. Jonathan Ruru narrowed the gap with a penalty 5 minutes later. Using the wind again midway through the half Young Munster kicked to touch inside the Cashel 22.
Cashel won the lineout but the clearance was blocked down and Munsters increased their score to 10 points with another try. They almost scored again on 30 minutes but stout Cashel defending kept them at bay. Half time score Young Munster 10 Cashel 3.
The second half was a cliffhanger with the mobile Cashel pack taking on their opponents at every opportunity. Parity was gained 10 minutes into the second half when Cashel’s young hooker Niall Fitzgerald finished off a good forwards move with a try which Jonathan Ruru converted. It was now game on and the lead did not last long as Munsters went ahead again with a penalty.
On the 59th minute Cashel moved the ball from half way, a gap opened for Pat O’Connor and he scored a great try under the posts. Jonathan Ruru converted. With 2 minutes left on the clock the Munsters pack exerted huge pressure on the Cashel scrum.
In spite of heroic defending Munsters scored a try to edge ahead 18-17 and it looked as if Cashel’s effort was going to fall short but as oft times before they rolled up their sleeves, worked the ball up the field and after putting much pressure on Young Munster, Robin Foote touched down under the posts, Ruru converted and what seemed to have been lost was restored. Seven additional minutes were played and the wait for the final seemed to the Cashel supporters to be an eternity. Pat O’Connor put the icing on the cake with a drop goal on 87 minutes.
A feature of the game was the clever use of the bench by Cashel. Each player who came on contributed.
Another feature was the defence and the tackling. It would be unfair to single out any player from this squad as each one contributed to what was a great squad effort. And let us not forget the coaches and the backroom team.
Cashel host Banbridge at Spafield next Saturday in the first All Ireland League game of the season. This team deserves all the support we can give.
Cashel: C O’Donnell, N Fitzgerald, D Lambe, B Cross, S Walsh, K Murphy, J E O’Connor, E Leamy, D McGrath, J Ruru, A Wallace, A O’Donnell, B Silke, K leamy, P O’Connor, A Kelleher, H Stanley, R Foote, K Gleeson, J Maxwell, A Barron, R Mullane.
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