Saturday saw Sunday’s Well maintain their senior status with one of their best performances of the season against a very fired-up and talented Cashel side at Musgrave Park.
AIB LEAGUE PROMOTION-RELEGATION PLAY-OFF: Saturday, April 25
SUNDAY’S WELL 20 CASHEL 3, Musgrave Park
Scorers: Sunday’s Well: Tries: David Twohig 2; Cons: Chris Burnett 2; Pens: Chris Burnett 2
Cashel: Pen: Pat O’Connor
Two first half tries by centre David Twohig proved crucial for the ‘Well but it was a great all round effort by the Cork team.
Chris Burnett had a magnificent game, kicking a total of ten points, while Karl Rothwell was controlling affairs from the front.
Playing with a strong wind, Sunday’s Well took full advantage to open up a ten-point lead in the first half but Cashel did not die down and produced a great fight-back with Pat O’Connor registering a penalty for them.
However, some heroic defending by the ‘Well players ensured their status in AIB League Division Three for next season.
The evening was wrapped up in great fashion by the Sunday’s Well Under-14s who produced a stunning display of rugby to register a 19-0 victory in their cup final.
With Cashel having nothing to lose into this tie, it was always clear that they were going to play with great abandon and would take the game to the ‘Well from the off.
With a very vocal set of supporters behind both teams, this was very much a throwback to a typical Munster Cup game.
In this crucial match, Sunday’s Well captain Declan Coppinger led from the front and ensured that his side would be able to take control of affairs from early on.
Unfortunately for the hosts, their full-back Colin Corkery suffered an early injury and was withdrawn on six minutes but he did make a vital contribution in his early cameo, winning a penalty having been tackled late.
Despite the penalty being out on the left touchline, Burnett did not hesitate to point to the posts and he produced a magnificent kick to not only give his side an early lead, but also to settle himself into the game.
Cashel were throwing everything into the match and fiercely contested the breakdown with some counter-rucking, while their big, powerful front row were also looking to make an impression at the scrum.
But the ‘Well forwards got through a great workload and made plenty of ground with the ball in hand, while Ray Coppinger was also throwing some real bullets into the lineout.
Tumaile Tasola continued where he left off at Old Wesley last time out, hungry to get ball in his hands and bash his way through as many opposing players as possible.
A great lineout take by Ian Carroll was distributed out to Burnett, who threw a great sidestep to catch out the Cashel defence and he then found the rampaging Alan Hickey who burst up to the 22.
The ‘Well pack were quick to recycle the ball and scrum half Rothwell continued to make good ground before the ball finally found its way out to the lethal Twohig who cut inside to crash over for a great try that Burnett converted.
A second penalty by Burnett extended the lead to 13 points as the ‘Well clearly wanted to finish the game as a contest by half-time.
The home pack had a number of opportunities to drive over as well but yet again it was Twohig who applied the finishing touches on the stroke of half-time to give his side a 20-0 buffer with help from Burnett’s conversion.
The Corkmen had to endure a few nervy moments with the Cashel back-line showing why they opened up so many sides in the Munster Junior League.
The ‘Well forwards were also under pressure but the young front row once again met the task when faced with a series of defensive scrums on their own line.
In the end, a Pat O’Connor penalty was all that Cashel could muster and the ‘Well could have extended their advantage in the closing stages.
Twohig almost got in for his hat-trick after great work by Eamon Murphy, while Shane Walsh was bundled into touch just metres from the line.
SUNDAY’S WELL: C Corkery; J Martin O’Sullivan, D Twohig, B Hanrahan, N Horgan; C Burnett, K Rothwell; M Moynihan, R Coppinger, S Walsh, E Murphy, I Carroll, D Coppinger (capt), A Hickey, T Tasola.
Replacements used: S Carlin for Corkery (6 mins), J Quill for Martin O’Sullivan (half-time), F Moynihan for Moynihan (73), F Whelan for R Coppinger (75), R Lane for Hickey (79).
CASHEL: P O’Connor; D O’Brien, B Silke, D Tovita, K Quinlan; C Quinlan, M Hickey; A Cowey, J Silke, B Moloney; P O’Connor, P Ryan (c); K Leamy, J Ed O’Connor, E O’Connor,
Replacements used: E Horan for Moloney (47 mins), J Maher for B Silke (75), G McGlinchley for P O’Connor (78).
Referee: Michael Black (IRFU)