OLD Crescent will be looking to improve on their showing in Division 2A of the AIL last season. Rugby Correspondent, Colm Kinsella, looks at their prospects
COACHING TEAM: Gerry Casey (Head Coach), Joe Nix (Assistant Head Coach), PJ McLoughlin (Forwards Coach), Brian Hogan (Team Manager), Rory Collins (Assistant Team Manager).
LAST YEAR: 10th in 2A
FORM: A mixed bag from Old Crescent in the early season competitions. Produced a gritty display before exiting the Charity Cup at the hands of Munsters’. However, a very poor second half display on Saturday saw Crescent ship a heavy defeat to Cashel in the Munster Senior Cup.
PLAYERS IN: Alan Bennie (Shannon) Aidan McNulty (UL Bohs) Conor McNamara (Bective Rangers) Ben Rowley (Thomond), Brian Keane (St Marys), Ronan O’Sullivan (Clontarf), Alan McMahon (Garryowen), Keith Lyons (Garryowen). Sean O’Riordan (Bandon), David Crowdle, Eoin Ryan, Jeff Nugent (Young Munster).
PLAYERS OUT: Brian Dennehy (Retired), Dave Hogan (St Mary’s), Rob O’Neill (Bective Rangers), Mike Cunningham (Bective Rangers), Tom Cregan (Retired)
MAIN MAN: Brendan Guilfoyle -A hugely impressive back-row forward who is also adept at playing rugby league. A formidable scrummager, Guilfoyle also carries the ball with telling effect. His experience in the Crescent pack this season will be a major plus for Gerry Casey’s side.
ONE TO WATCH: Will Hanly -An exciting member of Crescent’s backline, Hanly also boasts a keep eye for the try line. Has the ability to make regular line breaks which will keep opposition defences very wary of the threat he poses.
FIRST FIVE FIXTURES: Old Crescent v QUB, Saturday, September 29, 2.30pm; Cashel v Old Crescent, Spafield, Saturday, October 6, 2.30pm; Old Crescent v UCC, Rosbrien, Saturday, October 27, 2.30pm; Midleton v Old Crescent, Towns Park, Saturday, November 3, 2.30pm; Old Crescent v Old Wesley, Rosbrien, Saturday, November 17, 2.30pm
VERDICT: Retained their 2A status for this season quite comfortably last term. The Rosbrien club will be looking to build on the progress made last season under their new head coach Gerry Casey. After a promising start to the season, Old Crescent shipped a heavy defeat to an improving Cashel side last weekend. The fixture makers could have been kinder to Old Crescent as they face QUB - who finished in a lofty third place last season - this Saturday, before heading back to Tipperary to take on Cashel on Saturday week. The Rosbrien club have made a number of astute signings during the summer months and should be capable of at least a comfortable mid-table finish this season.