How well the successful blending of youth and experience is demonstrated at Cashel, from rural Munster.
Howard Stanley and Emmet Hall, both 21, sandwich 22-year-old hooker Dave McCormack in the youngest of front rows. Two rows back can be found the strength of the team: Ed Leamy (ex-Cork Con and the brother of Munster’s Denis) and the O’Connor brothers Brendan (the captain and ex-Connacht) and John Ed (ex-Irish Amateurs captain) have all played at a higher level and are relishing lifting Cashel to new heights.
The club was formed in 1919 and this season is their first in senior rugby. Having won seven trophies (first and second team) last year, Cashel plundered wins over Ards (42-8) and Nenagh (21-3) to reach Christmas as leaders of Ulster Bank League Division 2B.
They were the only unbeaten team in Ireland’s National Leagues and, with just 41 points conceded, had the meanest defence. “The players are a driven bunch,” says head coach Ian Dunne, “and nothing they achieve surprises me.”
Dunne, whose coaching team includes former Scotland scrum-half Greig Oliver, oversees a team strong on family ethos. There are four sets of brothers and the desire to play both for Cashel and for each other promises to take the club far.Half-a-dozen games remain and the top two go up, with third place securing a play-off.
Fitness coach Shaun Curry nominated Cashel for our award. “John Hayes’s club, Bruff, are our role model,” he says. “They were in the junior ranks a few years ago and are now in 1B. If we can emulate them I’d be very proud.”
Check out November’s Team of the Month.
This article appeared in the March 2012 issue of Rugby World Magazine.
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