Old Crescent travelled to the Royal County last Saturday to take on Navan RFC in our final away UBL fixture of this season. Navan RFC has the most magnificent clubhouse, on three levels with ten changing rooms, and superb playing facilities.
The Navan RFC facilities are a testimony to the foresight of the club in buying land just outside Navan over two decades ago, and they point the way forward for Old Crescent RFC as we begin to develop our recently purchased additional lands at Rosbrien.
The rains fell all morning as we drove to Navan but thankfully had cleared by kick off. Old Crescent played into a near gale force wind for the first half. However, tight ball control ensured that we made progress deep into the Navan half, and we were first to score when Larry Hanly burst through a few despairing tackles to score near the posts. Larry added the conversion to put us seven points clear with ten minutes played.
Navan converted a penalty a few minutes later but we were soon on the offensive again and, after a series of picks and go’s that took us to the Navan 22, Gareth Quinn McDonagh put in another dazzling run that saw him round the cover out wide and continue on to touch down unhindered behind the posts for our second try. Larry again added the conversion to put us 14-3 in front midway through the first half.
Playing into the near gale conditions continued to be difficult and any error was punished by Navan kicks sending us back into our own 22. When it looked like we might carry a decent lead into the second half, Navan broke through to our line and scrambled over for a try which they converted to leave the half time score, Navan 10 Old Crescent 14. It was a pity to concede a try on the stroke of half time but our sterling performance into the wind bode well for the second half.
With the wind now at our back, we were soon on the attack deep in the Navan 22 and after a series of interchanges between our backs and forwards, Larry Hanly touched down near the posts and added the conversion, with five minutes gone in the second half. Our ball handling in the difficult conditions was excellent and a pleasure to watch.
Ten minutes later, we got the all important fourth try when Sean Monaghan broke through the Navan defence to touch down out wide. The difficult touch line conversion was missed.
An absolute cloud burst of torrential rain and hailstones in the last ten minutes of the game sent the crowd scurrying for shelter. However, Old Crescent made light of the appalling weather conditions in the closing stages when Larry Hanly was at the end of a beautifully floated long flat pass from centre Brian Touhy that enabled him slide in for his third try in the corner. The conversion was missed but it didn’t matter to the rapturous Old Crescent supporters who celebrated as the game ended on a final score of Navan 10 Old Crescent 31.
To have secured promotion to UBL Division 4 with a game to spare, and to score 528 points in the process, is a magnificent achievement for all members of the Old Crescent senior squad and management. All eyes will now turn to Rosbrien next Saturday when we take on Tullamore RFC in our final UBL game of the season. Larry Hanly was awarded the Man of the Match Award for his superb performance against Navan, and Larry and his team mates intend to finish our UBL campaign with a flourish and a win in front of our loyal home supporters next Saturday.
The Old Crescent Under 20 side hosted Highfield in our last game of the Donal Walsh Trophy campaign in Rosbrien a week ago. After winning the opening kickoff with a clever kick and chase, we controlled territory and possession for the opening ten minutes. We created a couple of scoring opportunities but failed to take them. We also lost winger Mark Dillon with a broken collar bone (best wishes Mark for a speedy recovery). Then, in their first incursion into our half, Highfield opened the scoring with an unconverted try.
To their credit, our Under 20’s picked themselves up and launched another wave of attacks on the Highfield line and after a couple of near misses, Ian Clein crossed under the posts for a try which Conor Lenihan converted to put us in front. We held this advantage to the half time interval.
The larger Highfield pack came more into the game in the second half but the introduction of Paul McNamara at half time gave us an additional cutting edge in the back line. As in the opening half, we again had the better of territory and possession but failed to execute. Ten minutes into the second half, Highfield regained the lead with a converted try following some smart play.
There then followed a period of play where Highfield were in control and looked like adding to their score but our defence held firm throughout. The determination of our side shone through in the last quarter when we again took the game to Highfield, and we scored three late tries, two by Evan Moloney and one by Andrew Harrison all converted by Conor Lenihan, to give us a convincing win and bonus point victory. Final score, Old Crescent 28 Highfield 12.
As mentioned above, next Saturday will be a day of celebration in Old Crescent RFC when we hope to round off our UBL season with another win. Our Under Age section will also be holding a 5k sponsored walk around the club grounds to raise funds for our land development. The walk starts at 1.00pm and will be followed by a complimentary BBQ and soft drinks for all participants. The senior game against Tullamore will kick off at 2.30pm. After the game, an IRFU representative will present the UBL Division 5 trophy and medals to our senior team. The Leinster versus Munster will be on the big screen in the clubhouse at 5.00pm followed by live music from 7.00pm. See you all in Rosbrien next Saturday!
In our only other senior fixture next weekend, our Third’s side continue their Webb Cup campaign with an away match against Shannon in Coonagh, kick off at 1.30pm next Saturday.