Loss for Cashel
Last minute try denies Cashel a draw.
For the second game in a row Cashel were cruelly denied at least a draw in a most competitive and entertaining Division 2A league game played at Spafield on Saturday last. Played in perfect conditions there was a lot at stake for both teams. Highfield needed a win to stay in the top 4 while Cashel needed a win more urgently to claw their way out of second last position. At half time the score was 6 6 and with 4 minutes left on the clock the score remained the same when a number of unfortunate incidents led to a converted Highfield try which left Cashel having to settle for a losing bonus point. Cashel showed their intent early on and used the scrum to good effect. However it was Highfield who drew first blood on 8 minutes when they went ahead with a penalty. Cashel responded quickly and brought play into the Highfield half. They were awarded a penalty on the 22 and Ollie McGlinchey made no mistake to level the game. Then came a period of intense pressure from Cashel but their efforts came to nothing as the Highfield defence soaked up the pressure. On 28 minutes the Cashel pressure yielded another penalty and a yellow card for a Highfield player. McGlinchey nudged Cashel ahead and from then until half time Cashel looked comfortable. They got a push on in the scrum just before half time but a penalty was awarded against them and Highfield levelled the game to leave the half time score 6 6. Cashel would have been disappointed not to be ahead based on the percentage of possession they had in that first half.
The pace of the game did not drop in the second half and the quality of the contest was top class. Highfield were again reduced to 14 men on the 48th minute but Cashel could not capitalise on the numerical advantage. Then a number of injuries forced Cashel into rearranging their back line. First to go was Andrew Wallace with a leg injury to be replaced by Conor Holland on the wing. Then Andrieu Kelleher left with a knee injury, Conor Holland moved to out half and Ed Leamy covered a back position. It must be said Leamy worked his socks off all day and was the outstanding player on the field. Cashel had a penalty opportunity to go ahead on 61 minutes but it was just outside McGlincheys range. Aidan Butler then left the field and was replaced by Tommy Anglim. Butler and James Ryan were involved in a collision just before half time and it was a miracle they were able to continue. In the second half Cashel kept Highfiled pinned back with some clever kicks and young Brian Fitzpatrick used his left boot to great effect. At 18 he has a very promising future and did not look out of place in this company. With 4 minutes left to play, the game edging to the end and a draw on the cards disaster struck for Cashel. They won a lineout on the Highfield 22, set up a maul and moved forward. A Highfield player came in at the side and ripped to ball as the maul collapsed. The ball was hacked up field and bounced into a Highfield player who passed it out to a colleague who scored under the posts. Cashel protested that a pass was forward but the referee did not have the benefit of a TMO and the touch judges cannot adjudicate on such infringements. Final score Cashel 6 Highfield 13. It was a cruel blow to Cashel who competed to the very end. They are running teams at the top of the table very closely and with a little bit of luck the wins will come. Highfield are a good team and they held on to their top 4 position. Cashel Team: N Fitzgerald, R Coates, M Kelly, S Walsh, K Murphy, A Butler, E Leamy, J Ryan, O McGlinchey, A Kelleher, B Fitzpatrick, Pat O'Connor, B Silke, A Wallace, N Thompson, C Holland, Philip O'Connor, T Anglim, H Stanley, T Allen.