Skerries v Cashel – 26/9/15
Ulster Bank All Ireland League Div 2A in Holmpatrick – 26/09/2015
Skerries 40 (K McGrath 3 tries, D Keane 2 tries, M Nally try, J Faiva 5 conv )
Cashel 43 (J Newton try pen 5conv, J Frawley M Cross K Leamy A Barron E Leamy try each)
Played in ideal conditions this match, relative to rugby skills, featured the good and the bad but without the ugly. Twelve tries in total – the final at the stroke of full time gave the visitors full points while Skerries had to settle for two bonus points. From the start both teams showed, perhaps too often at times, a reckless intent to put the ball at risk, playing high octane rugby, which certainly held the spectators’ attention throughout. After fifteen minutes, second row, Mike Cross, put Cashel ahead with a converted try. In typical fashion from a lineout, centre Kevin McGrath’s pace saw him split the Cashel defence to score a try converted by James Faiva. Following an intercept on thirty minutes, Cashel’s Kevin Leamy scored their second try converted by centre Jason Newton. However, after a series of mauls, prop Mark Nally replied for Skerries to leave the score 14 – 14. Then the only converted penalty of the game brought Cashel into the lead. As half time approached the final score was created from a fine break by Skerries captain, Ross McAuley, supported by centre Faiva who found Kevin Mcgrath with a precise pass to bring the score to 21 – 17.
On resumption a further two tries saw Skerries take a lead of 33-17 – the first being credited to Kevin McGrath following intense mauling from the pack. The next created by Derek Keane who frequently imposed himself ferociously on the Cashel defence. They quickly realised that a bad place to be was between Keane and the goal line. His trademark hand-off allowed McGrath receive the ball and run in unopposed to score a converted try.
Skerries concentration was now found to wander. Cashel capitalised and established a period of dominance, scoring three tries in succession – the first from a quickly taken penalty by scrum-half Barron, followed by Newton taking advantage of loose Skerries play and winger Frawley securing possession and touching down for a try following a home side knock-on. Skerries were wobbling. Score is now 33-36 in favour of the midlanders. It is on occasions like this, when, overwhelmed and exhausted, there is a choice of response and perseverance, not to give up and to make the difference. With five minutes to full time Keane again made the difference scoring a converted try. The home side thought the win had been successfully engineered. Breathless stuff, not yet over. Cashel did not go gently, and in a remarkable and dramatic finish claimed victory with a converted try at the final whistle. This young Skerries side will benefit from this experience, learning that it is not about age, size or height, but about courage heart and toughness. There is a long way to go in this campaign and many opportunities yet to make the difference.
Skerries next AIL fixture is away to Queens University on the 3rd. October
Skerries team 1 to 20….Mark Nally Chris Tonge Neil Foster Joe Glennon Ross Halligan Thomas O’Hare Eoin Matthews Ross McAuley(capt) Eoghan Carron Paul O’Loughlen Derek Keane James Faiva Kevin McGrath Eddie O’Mahony Maurice McAuley Conor Ronayne Cormac Marrey KieranLleonard Eoghan Dempsey Michael Cauldwell