Kingspan Stadium seems to bring the best out of players and teams and it did so today for both Cavan and PSNI as they competed for the Gordon West Cup.
Match report by Aishling O’Connell.
It was the first time for most of the players to step out onto the pitch at the home of Ulster rugby, which could have made nerves take over. However, both teams produced an exciting and skillful and evenly matched game.
Cavan kicked off deep into PSNI territory but PSNI took control and were soon on the attack, threatening throughout the first 20 mins.
A defensive lineout for Cavan led to a sloppy ball and the PSNI’s scrumhalf and captain Chris Fleming gathered the ball and ran straight for the corner getting the first score of the game.
Cavan were quick to respond through an intercept by center Adam Crowe who ran straight under the post. Ciaran Crowe added the conversion to put Cavan ahead. C Crowe added a penalty before the break to give Cavan a 10 – 5 lad as the teams turned round.
PSNI were first to get on the scoreboard in the 2nd half with an early penalty by Andrew Hamlin before C. Crowe responded in kind to add another 3 points to Cavan’s total.
Cavan looked confident in attack and possession belonged to them. It wasn’t long until the ball hit the boot of C Crowe to go between the posts for a drop goal to further extend their lead.
PSNI were eager to get their hands on the ball and were putting in huge tackles but Cavan remained on top. It looked like they had secured the game when captain Gary Gillespie crossed in the corner only for it to be disallowed for a forward pass.
A few changes by the PSNI at the start of the final quarter made an immediate impact with the last 20 minutes belong to the Police. After immense pressure PSNI’s Colin Hamilton placed the ball over the line in the corner to make it a one score game.
A tense final five minutes ensued but to Cavan’s relief, and PSNI’s disappointment, Cavan’s Gary Brennan kicked the ball out to resounding cheers from the Cavan support.
Final score: Cavan 16 PSNI 13
PSNI: David Parkhill, Richard Tipping, Andrew Holmes, Michael Andrews, Kyle Corrigan, Andrew Hamlin, Chris Fleming, Alistair Barnes, Adam Miller, Matthew Weir, Ryan Stewart, David Kenwell, Daniel Clegg, Andrew Hassard, Matthew Hill. Replacements: Stuart Gilroy, Colin Hamilton, Richard Loughlin, Stephen Dunne, John Bogle.
Cavan: Philip Mulligan, Eugene Fay, Adam Crowe, Laurance Corcoran, Donal Lynch, Ciaran Crowe, Gary Brennan, Gary Gillespie, Cillian Murtagh, Karl Heaslip, Gary Browne, Shane McCormack, Joshua Crowe, Daniel McGregor, John Dunne. Replacements: Myles O’Reilly, Irwin Heaslip, Cian Hughes, Dermot Conaty, Aaron Fitzpatrick.
Photo credit Graham Service.