Castletroy coach Martin Burke stressed that they were “well mentally prepared for a Glenstal side for whom we have a lot of respect. Glen came at us as we knew they would and while we made every use of the wind in the first-half, we lost our way a little in the second.”
It was a highly enjoyable game, the two sides helped in their efforts by the superb G-4 all weather UL pitch. The conditions were largely well nigh perfect, the snow, hail and sleet showers having passed off earlier in the day. However, Castletroy were helped appreciably by the wind in the first half before it dropped in velocity, much to Glenstal’s frustration.
Castletroy were superb in a first half which saw winger Paul Butler scorch over for a fine try after nine minutes and outstanding hooker Mark O’Mara burrow over for another in the 20th minute. Full-back Conor Linehan judged the difficult wind to perfection to land both conversions from extremely difficult angles.
Glenstal needed an early second half response and it came from a Jack Stafford penalty after six minutes. Linehan quickly hit back to restore Castletroy’s 14 point advantage but there could be no doubting Glenstal’s resolve. They opted for a scrum rather than a kickable penalty and the gamble paid off when centre Jamie McAlease broke a few tackles and burst over at the posts for Stafford to add the points.
At this stage, the excellent Mark O’Mara, Conor Humphreys and Jack O’Neill in the Castletroy pack had their work cut out to cope with a Glenstal eight in which Neilus Mulvihill and Ben Clancy were magnificent. However, Castletroy regained their composure and the accurate boot of Linehan ensured their place in the semi-final with another fine kick.
CASTLETROY: C Linehan; D Garry, J Fox, D Rowsome, P Butler; M McCarthy, R Cunningham; J Conway, M O’Mara, C Myers, N Clohessy, S Hoare, C Humphreys, R Murphy, J O’Neill capt. Replacements: S McBrearty for Butler half time; N O’Shea for Clohessy 43.
GLENSTAL: C Hogan; M Boland, C Og Healy, J McAlease, D Kenny; J Stafford, R Johnston; j Healy capt, M Ryan, G Fitzpatrick, A Donohoe, B Clancy, G O’Hara, J Murphy, N Mulvihill.
Replacements: E Ryan for Donohoe 40; R Hogan for Johnston 46; J Hartnett for Healy 58; S O’Sullivan for Kenny 62; B Cosgrave for E Ryan 64; M Ryan for McAlease 69.
Referee: K Barry (IRFU).