JP Fanagan – Premiership 2. 5th November 2017. Old Wesley 44 Suttonians 24.
The lads followed up their 43-7 thumping of Buccaneers the previous weekend with a fine win over Suttonians at Donnybrook on Sunday. The north Dublin outfit are fancied for a top 2 finish this season, fielding a handful of Leinster Academy trialists, as well as a strong core of Belvedere and St Fintan’s Colleges SCT stars. As is by now their style this season, Wesley took no heed of reputation, and tore into them from the start. Incredibly, with less than 10 minutes gone, Wes were 12-0 up. The first try came from an intelligent supporting run by Shane O’Hanrahan following a fine break by Sean Balance who went on to convert. The second was a swift break from deep by the backs, touched down by the industrious Luke Corish. Suttonians greater physicality allowed them claw their way back, and applying intense pressure on our scrum, they gained ground through a series of penalties. Following a quick tap close-in, their winger went over in the corner. They continued to enjoy superiority in the scrum, and on 28 minutes, their no 8 scored a nice try near the posts, which was also converted. Gradually our boys sorted out the set-piece, and began moving the heavier Sutton pack around. This gave the back-line a licence to play heads-up rugby and on 34 minutes, hard running by Daragh Foster and Bill Corrigan at the heart of their desperate defence led to a deliberate slap-down and a yellow card. Sean Balance coolly slotted over the penalty but the boys smelled blood. The restart didn’t go 10 and having won possession with a great scrum, the pack found their mojo, driving the Suttonians defence all the way to their own line in a series of pick and go drives. Suttonians’ scrum was fading badly at this stage and some good decoy work by Sean Balance, a snappy pick by Scott Levie and a tidy line by David Boles from the base saw David touch down. Half-time 20-12 to Wesley.
The second half saw the lads turn on the style and they ran everything. Great line speed from our defence turned the screw on Suttonians at every turn and on 49 minutes, they cracked. A well-timed intercept by Shane O’Hanrahan saw him gallop under the posts for a converted try. 15 minutes later, Luke Sweeney went on a meandering run across the back-line and hit the line brilliantly to dive over in the corner. Wesley kept cranking up the pressure – their superb fitness and greater aggression all day was not part of the Suttonians script! Despite their physical advantage, the Northsiders lost at least five players through injury. However, they kept plugging away and were rewarded with a rather questionable try on 70 minutes. This seemed to fire up our lads, who were determined not to allow Suttonians even a try bonus point. A superb team effort saw the boys punch their way downfield in the dying moments. A powerful drive from the pack led by Dave Motyer and Callum Raftery saw Andrew Egan add the finishing touch with a dynamic run, dragging three or four defenders a full 20 metres for a cracking score. Final score in this pulsating contest 44-24.
This squad are now unbeaten since their narrow loss away to Buccaneers in round 1. Amazingly, their points difference over the five matches to date is 182 – 95, averaging over 36 points per match.
Team: Andrew Irwin, Jordan Laybourne (C), Sam Kenny, Dave Motyer, Lloyd Stephens, Harrison Pitt, Luke Corish, David Boles, Scott Levie, Shane O’Hanrahan, Sean Balance, Darragh Forster, Bill Corrigan, Luke Sweeney, Adam Culbert, Andrew Egan, Dylan O’Regan, Gavin Parr, Callum Raftery, Daniel Gilmer, Geoff Mahon Philip Deane. Coaches: Ian Dumbleton, Ronan O’Donovan.