It was tough, it was testing in the heat and it was tiring but in the end tenacious Navan did enough to defeat Cashel in the semi-final of the AIL play-offs at Cashel yesterday - and now they face Queen's University at Balreask Old next Saturday.
Ray Moloney's side had to withstand a late surge by the home side who were desperate to rescue the game but Navan's defensive formation and all round gritty approach held the Munster team out to claim a famous victory.
The game was a real rollercoaster ride with Navan having the better of the opening half however, Cashel broke the deadlock on 29 minutes when their full-back Jonty Rae slotted the ball between the posts from a penalty kick. Conor Farrell went over for a Navan 'try' however it was cancelled out for an infringement.
It stayed 3-0 at the interval with Navan given an opportunity to draw level when they were awareded a penalty close to the Cashel 10-metre line. It was a difficult kick and while Brian Haugh got plenty of distance into his drive he could only watch as the ball pinged off the post and was cleared.
With the game becoming more open in the second-half Navan eventually worked the decisive try with 64 minutes on the clock. Navan moved the ball out wide with Paddy Fox surging into the line, passing to James McInerney who returned the ball to Fox and he scooted over for a touchdown. Haugh converted.
The contest remained on a knife-edge for the rest of the game with Cashel practically camping in the Navan 22 for close to 10 minutes of added time but the home side were held up when they got within inches of scoring a try. Navan's defensive fortitude was rewarded. Now they play Queen's University in the play-off final at Balreask Old next Saturday.
SEE MATCH REPORT AND COMMENSTS FROM CASHEL GAME IN NEXT ISSUE OF MEATH CHRONICLE